Effect of transcranial direct current stimulation on supramaximal intermittent exercise performance

Abstract Aim: Our purpose was to determine whether Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) improves performance in untrained individuals for supramaximal intermittent exercise. Methods: In a cross-over design, 11 healthy male subjects (26.8 ± 4.6 years) performed four Wingate trials after 20 minutes of anodal or sham tDCS over the left Insular Cortex (IC). For performance indexes, Relative Peak Power (RPP), Relative Average Power (RAP) and Fatigue Index (FI) were computed. Also, a Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) and Electromyography (EMG) signal were used to assess central and muscle fatigue development. Results: There was a significant difference over trials on all performance indexes, but there were no significant condition x trial interactions for any of the indexes. RPE increased significantly over trials, but there was no condition x trial interaction. There was no significant difference over trials on EMG for the rectus femoris and vastus medialis muscles; however, EMG decreased over trials for the vastus lateralis muscle. Furthermore, there was no condition x trial interaction on the EMG signal for any of the muscles. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that the anodal tDCS technique has no impact on physical performance, perceived exertion nor muscle fatigue development for supramaximal intermittent exercise.