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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 31  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 55-58

Effect of anaerobic bout using wingate cycle ergometer on pressure pain threshold in normal individuals

Department of Sports Physiotherapy, School of Physiotherapy, D.Y. Patil University, Nerul, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication5-May-2017

Correspondence Address:
Ajit Dabholkar
Haware's Green Park, B-2/603, Plot No. 15, Sector-22, Kamothe, Navi Mumbai - 410 209, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijpn.ijpn_70_16

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Introduction: Published studies reveal that incremental graded and short term anaerobic exercise lead to an increase in beta-endorphin levels, the extent correlating with the lactate concentration. Beta- endorphin can be released into the circulation from the pituitary gland or can project into areas of the brain through nerve fibers. Exercise of sufficient intensity and duration has been demonstrated to increase circulating Beta-endorphin levels. Thus, our study investigates the effect of anaerobic activity on pressure pain threshold (PPT) in normal individuals. Materials and Methods: Normal individuals (N = 30) between the age group of 20-30 years were recruited for this study. The subjects performed an anaerobic bout on Monark Wingate cycle egometer. A pre and post assessment of PPT was evaluated. Data Analysis: Graphpad Instat 3 software program was used for statistical analysis. A paired't' test was done to analyse the level of statistical significance between the pre and post PPT. Results: Study revealed that post anaerobic bout there was statistical significant difference between pre and post PPT in quadriceps, Mean 14.41,95% CI[12.95,15.87], Mean 16.73,95% CI[15.06,18.40] & (P value 0.0411) and gastrocnemius,Mean 13.56, 95% CI[12.18,14.93], Mean 15.55,95% CI[13.94,17.16] & (P value <0.0001). Conclusion: The study emphasizes the influence of pain modulation after an anaerobic bout.

Keywords: Anaerobic threshold, cycle ergometer, pain threshold

How to cite this article:
Dabholkar A, Andhansare A, Dabholkar TA. Effect of anaerobic bout using wingate cycle ergometer on pressure pain threshold in normal individuals. Indian J Pain 2017;31:55-8

How to cite this URL:
Dabholkar A, Andhansare A, Dabholkar TA. Effect of anaerobic bout using wingate cycle ergometer on pressure pain threshold in normal individuals. Indian J Pain [serial online] 2017 [cited 2022 Aug 12];31:55-8. Available from: https://www.indianjpain.org/text.asp?2017/31/1/55/205722

  Introduction Top

One of the distinguishing factors between aerobic and anaerobic exercise is the production of lactic acid.[1]

It has been studied that the intensity of exercise is important in significantly altering circulating beta-endorphin levels. These studies suggested that a critical intensity of exercise (>60% maximum oxygen uptake) was needed to increase circulating beta-endorphin levels.[2],[3] Subsequent studies have confirmed that the intensity needs to be at a critical level but may fluctuate from this minimum based on the individual.[4]

Graded exercise has typically demonstrated increases in circulating beta-endorphin following exercise above a certain critical intensity.[5] Heitkamp et al. examined the response of beta-endorphin to a graded treadmill test which lasted approximately 30 min.[4] The level of beta-endorphin increased from a resting value of 10–30 pmol/L at the end of the exercise. This concurs with previous reports. Graded or incremental exercise of an aerobic nature appears to increase circulating beta-endorphin. It is unclear what produces this response or what factors during the exercise may stimulate beta-endorphin release.

Thus, it is imperative to study the influence of anaerobic bout on pressure pain threshold (PPT) in normal individuals.

Objective of the study

To assess PPT and induce an anaerobic bout using Monark Wingate cycle ergometer.

  Materials and Methods Top

Monark Wingate cycle ergometer (Peak Bike, Ergomedic 894E) [Figure 1] was used to induce anaerobic bout. Pressure algometer (Wagner) was used to assess the PPT [Figure 2].
Figure 1: Monark Wingate cycle ergometer

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Figure 2: Pressure algometer

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Study design

This was a cross-sectional study.

Inclusion criteria

Thirty normal individuals between the age group of 20 and 30 years were recruited for this study.

Exclusion criteria

Participants having any musculoskeletal, cardiopulmonary impairment were excluded from the study.


Institutional Ethics Committee approval was taken before the study was initiated. Sample size was estimated with the level of significance chosen at P< 0.05 and power of the study at 0.80. The estimated sample size was 30. The participants were chosen by convenient sampling. Written consent was obtained from all the individuals who participated in this study. Participants were selected according to inclusion criteria. Study participants were having Mean Age of 22.46 ± 1.00 [Table 1]. Pressure algometer was used to measure the PPT in lbs/cm 2 on preselected sites (on the belly of quadriceps femoris [Figure 3] and gastrocnemius) [Figure 4] before anaerobic activity.
Table 1: Demographic profile

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Figure 3: Measurement site for pressure pain threshold for quadriceps muscle

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Figure 4: Measurement site for pressure pain threshold for gastrocnemius muscle

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After preassessment of PPT in specified muscles, the participant was asked to warm up for 3 min on cycle ergometer without any resistance applied. Based on participant's weight (in kgs) computer application of Wingate cycle ergometer, the amount of resistance to be added to induce anaerobic activity was set. After the warm up, the participant was explained to cycle at the maximum speed possible for him/her, involving his/her maximal effort for 30 s. The cycle ergometer was programmed to add the resistance as soon as the cycling speed reaches 70 km/h. The same was explained to the participant and encouraged to cycle at maximal speed. After the bout was over, participant was made to sit, and PPT was again recorded from the same previous sites. GraphPad InStat (GraphPad Software, Inc.) 3 software program was used for statistical analysis. A paired t-test was done to analyze the level of statistical significance.

  Results Top

The pre- and post-bout changes [Table 2] in PPT in quadriceps femoris [Graph 1] and gastrocnemius [Graph 2] were significant and highly significant (P = 0.0411 and <0.0001, respectively). This can be attributed to the fact that short-term effect of anaerobic bout of activity probably causes the release of indigenous beta-endorphins.
Table 2: Measurements of pressure pain threshold

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According to neurophysiological theory, it was proposed that high prothrombin time (PT) is induced due to continuous stimulation. Pain itself is responsible for the inhibition of pain by inhibiting neurons in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord. Second, the cognitive theory, an adaptive theory, proposes that frequent exposure to uncomfortable sensations improves the ability of participants to perceive pain, this could cause chronically increased PT.[6],[7],[8],[9],[10],[11]

Various mechanisms have been proposed for the increase in beta-endorphin in the circulation as a result of exercise. Based on the type of exercise, different mechanisms may be involved in the regulation of beta-endorphin release during exercise.[12]


One proposed mechanism for beta-endorphin is related to analgesia.[13] The studies examining opioid receptors and pharmacological interventions in the modulation of pain in animals suggest that beta-endorphin is involved in the analgesic response.

Lactate, pH, and base excess

Acid-base balance (pH or lactic acid levels) has been postulated as a mechanism for the increase in beta-endorphin during exercise.[14],[15] Since exercise intensity ≥60% maximum oxygen uptake has been generally reported to increase beta-endorphin, several studies have related this increase to anaerobic threshold or lactic acid production.

Thus, from our study, it can be concluded that anaerobic activity (bout) influences pain modulation after an anaerobic bout.

  Conclusion Top

Anaerobic activity (bout) increases PPT in normal individuals. This study highlights the influence of anaerobic bout on PPTs in quadriceps and gastrocnemius muscles. Although in this study blood tests were not accompanied to verify the levels of endorphins, further studies can be designed to study the same. Furthermore, different exercise intensities, duration, frequency, and different protocols for anaerobic testing can also be studied in the future. Such studies will definitely provide a greater understanding of the postexercise analgesia and will provide better clinical benefits.

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form the patient(s) has/have given his/her/their consent for his/her/their images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patients understand that their names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Mizock BA, Falk JL. Lactic acidosis in critical illness. Crit Care Med 1992;20:80-93.  Back to cited text no. 1
de Meirleir K, Naaktgeboren N, Van Steirteghem A, Gorus F, Olbrecht J, Block P. Beta-endorphin and ACTH levels in peripheral blood during and after aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 1986;55:5-8.  Back to cited text no. 2
Goldfarb AH, Hatfield BD, Potts J, Armstrong D. Beta-endorphin time course response to intensity of exercise: Effect of training status. Int J Sports Med 1991;12:264-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
Heitkamp HC, Schmid K, Scheib K. Beta-endorphin and adrenocorticotropic hormone production during marathon and incremental exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 1993;66:269-74.  Back to cited text no. 4
Goldfarb AH, Hatfield BD, Sforzo GA, Flynn MG. Serum beta-endorphin levels during a graded exercise test to exhaustion. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1987;19:78-82.  Back to cited text no. 5
Kim SS, Choi MR. Study of pressure pain threshold in chronic pain patients and normal subjects. Korean J Clin Psychol 2000;19:377-84.  Back to cited text no. 6
Sparling PB, Giuffrida A, Piomelli D, Rosskopf L, Dietrich A. Exercise activates the endocannabinoid system. Neuroreport 2003;14:2209-11.  Back to cited text no. 7
Hoffman MD, Shepanski MA, Ruble SB, Valic Z, Buckwalter JB, Clifford PS. Intensity and duration threshold for aerobic exercise-induced analgesia to pressure pain. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2004;85:1183-7.  Back to cited text no. 8
Koltyn KF, Garvin AW, Gardiner RL, Nelson TF. Perception of pain following aerobic exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1996;28:1418-21.  Back to cited text no. 9
Umeda M, Newcomb LW, Koltyn KF. Influence of blood pressure elevations by isometric exercise on pain perception in women. Int J Psychophysiol 2009;74:45-52.  Back to cited text no. 10
Koltyn KF, Arbogast RW. Perception of pain after resistance exercise. Br J Sports Med 1998;32:20-4.  Back to cited text no. 11
Goldfarb AH, Jamurtas AZ. Beta-endorphin response to exercise. An update. Sports Med 1997;24:8-16.  Back to cited text no. 12
Stein C. Opioid analgesia at peripheral sites. In: Almedia OF, Shippenberg TS, editors. Neurobiology of Opioids. Berlin: Springer Verlag; 1991. p. 273-85.  Back to cited text no. 13
Schwarz L, Kindermann W. Changes in beta-endorphin levels in response to aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Sports Med 1992;13:25-36.  Back to cited text no. 14
Taylor DV, Boyajian JG, James N, Woods D, Chicz-Demet A, Wilson AF, et al. Acidosis stimulates beta-endorphin release during exercise. J Appl Physiol 1994;77:1913-8.  Back to cited text no. 15


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4]

  [Table 1], [Table 2]


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