Quadriceps muscle pain is a naturally occurring consequence of moderate- to high-intensity cycle ergometry. The present study involved an examination of self-efficacy for tolerating muscle pain during exercise as a correlate of muscle pain during maximal and submaximal cycle ergometry. Young adult females (n = 16) who were healthy and regularly physically active completed a measure of self-efficacy for tolerating moderate to strong pain in the legs and then undertook a maximal incremental exercise test on a cycle ergometer. Within 1 week, participants completed a 30-minute bout of submaximal exercise (80% V̇O2peak) on a cycle ergometer. Ratings of quadriceps muscle pain intensity were recorded every minute during the maximal incremental exercise test and every 5 minutes during the submaximal exercise session. Self-efficacy for tolerating pain was moderately inversely correlated with ratings of peak muscle pain during the maximal incremental exercise test (r = -.45) and pain ratings averaged across the submaximal session (r = -.49). Our results are consistent with social-cognitive theory and indicate that self-efficacy for tolerating pain is inversely associated with ratings of muscle pain during maximal and submaximal exercise in healthy and regularly active young adult females. Such findings support a possible examination of strategies for manipulating self-efficacy for tolerating pain and thereby reducing muscle pain during exercise. Perspective: Our data provided evidence that self-efficacy for tolerating moderate to strong muscle pain during exercise correlates with muscle pain intensity ratings during bouts of maximal and submaximal exercise. Future research could identify methods of manipulating self-efficacy as a means of decreasing muscle pain during exercise and ultimately enhancing physical activity participation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine