Cognitive stress (CS) changes the peripheral attributes of a muscle, but its effect on multi-head muscles has not been investigated. The objective of the current research was to investigate the impact of CS on the three heads of the triceps brachii (TB) muscle.
Twenty-five young and healthy university students performed a triceps push-down exercise at 45% one repetition maximum (1RM) with and without CS until task failure, and the rate of fatigue (ROF), endurance time (ET) and number of repetitions (NR) for both exercises were analyzed. In addition, the first and last six repetitions of each exercise were considered non-fatiguing (NF) and fatiguing (Fa), respectively, and the root mean square (RMS), mean power frequency (MPF) and median frequency (MDF) for each exercise repetition were evaluated.
The lateral and long head showed significant differences (P<0.05) in the ROF between the two exercises, and all the heads showed significant (P<0.05) differences in the RMS between the two exercises under NF conditions. Only the long head showed a significant difference (P<0.05) in the MPF and MDF between the two exercises. CS increases the ET (24.74%) and NR (27%) of the exercise. The three heads showed significant differences (P<0.05) in the RMS, MPF and MDF under all exercise conditions.
A lower ROF was obtained with CS. In addition, the RMS was found to be better approximator of CS, whereas MPF and MDF were more resistant to the effect of CS. The results showed that the three heads worked independently under all conditions, and the non-synergist and synergist head pairs showed similar behavior under Fa conditions. The findings from this study provide additional insights regarding the functioning of each TB head.