Effects of resting, consecutive, long-duration water immersions on neuromuscular endurance in well-trained males


Purpose: This study examined the effects of repeated long-duration water immersions (WI)s at 1.35 atmospheres absolute (ATA) on neuromuscular endurance performance. We hypothesized that, following 5 days of consecutive, resting, long-duration WIs, neuromuscular endurance performance would decrease. Methods: Fifteen well-trained, male subjects completed five consecutive 6-h resting WIs with 18-h surface intervals during the dive week while breathing compressed air at 1.35 ATA. Skeletal muscle endurance performance was assessed before and after each WI, and 24 and 72 h after the final WI. Muscular endurance assessments included 40% maximum handgrip endurance (MHE) and 50-repetition maximal isokinetic knee extensions. Near infrared spectroscopy was used to measure muscle oxidative capacity of the vastus lateralis and localized muscle tissue oxygenation of the vastus lateralis and flexor carpi radialis. Simultaneously, brachioradialis neuromuscular activation was measured by surface electromyography. Results: A 24.9% increase (p = 0.04) in the muscle oxidative capacity rate constant (k) occurred on WI 4 compared to baseline. No changes occurred in 40% MHE time to exhaustion or rate of fatigue or total work performed for the 50-repetition maximal isokinetic knee extension. The first quartile of deoxygenated hemoglobin concentration showed a 6 and 35% increase on WIs 3 and 5 (p = 0.026) with second quartile increases of 9 and 32% on WIs 3 and 5 (p = 0.049) during the 40% MHE testing when compared to WI 1. Conclusion: Our specific WI protocol resulted in no change to muscular endurance and oxygen kinetics in load bearing and non-load bearing muscles.

Frontiers in Physiology