Re-examination of training effects by electrostimulation in the human elbow musculoskeletal system

S Colson, A Martin, J Van Hoecke
International Journal of Sports Medicine 2000, 21 (4): 281-8
This study examines the effects of a 7 weeks sub-maximal training period of electrostimulation on the maximal isometric, concentric, eccentric voluntary torque and muscle contractile properties of the elbow flexor muscles of nine subjects. The daily program consisted of five series of six 6-s isometric actions (60 to 70% of maximal isometric voluntary action) at an elbow angle of 90 . After training the maximal voluntary isometric flexion torque increased significantly whereas the maximal voluntary isometric extension torque decreased significantly. Increases in isometric flexion torque were linked to an increase of the myoelectrical activity of the biceps brachii muscle. Under dynamic conditions flexion torque was significantly increased throughout the whole spectrum of angular velocities. These changes were accompanied by an increase in the myoelectrical activity of the agonist muscle under eccentric conditions and at two fast concentric angular velocities, without modifications of the myoelectrical activity of the antagonist muscle. The analysis of the electrical and mechanical twitches indicated that modifications of the muscle membrane electrical activity were also present at the muscle level. These results indicate that torque gains were attributed to neural adaptations and/or to a modification of the relative part of agonist and antagonist muscles in elbow flexion torque production.

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