Different neuromuscular recruitment patterns during eccentric, concentric and isometric contractions

D Kay, A St Clair Gibson, M J Mitchell, M I Lambert, T D Noakes
Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology 2000, 10 (6): 425-31
Aim. The purpose of this study was to determine the neuromuscular fatigue profiles during 100 s isometric (ISO), concentric (CON), and eccentric (ECC) activity.Methods. Twelve subjects (age 25.1+/-3.7 years, mass 70.1+/-8.2 kg, mean+/-SD) performed ISO, CON and ECC maximal voluntary contractions and 100 s endurance trials on an isokinetic dynamometer. Raw EMG data were recorded throughout each trial from the rectus femoris of the right limb. Corresponding data for integrated electromyography (IEMG), percentile frequency shifts (MPFS) and peak torque output were divided into five 5 s epochs and subsequently normalised with the first epoch being the reference point, in order to assess changes over time.Results. There were no significant differences between ECC, CON and ISO peak torque output (211+/-63 vs 169+/-41 vs 177+/-61 Nm; ECC, CON, ISO) and IEMG activity (280+/-143 vs 305+/-146 vs 287+/-143 mV; ECC, CON, ISO) during maximal contractions. Serial reductions in torque output were greatest in ISO in which torque output during the final epoch was 31+/-13% of initial values, similar to the final torque values in CON (58+/-15%), but significantly less than ECC (108.6+/-38.6%; P<0. 001) values. In CON and ECC, IEMG was maintained (95+/-27% and 93+/-21%; CON and ECC), whereas IEMG for ISO decreased to 38+/-13% of initial values. The greatest reduction in MPFS occurred in CON (69+/-10%) compared to ISO (78+/-9%; P<0.05) and ECC (93+/-6%; P<0.001).Conclusion. These data demonstrate distinct neuromuscular fatigue profiles for the different types of muscle contraction. Whereas eccentric activity was largely fatigue resistant, isometric and concentric contractions displayed different neuromuscular fatigue profiles.

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