Les Dorfman

Publication Details

  • TRIPHASIC BEHAVIORAL-RESPONSE OF MOTOR UNITS TO SUBMAXIMAL FATIGUING EXERCISE MUSCLE & NERVE DORFMAN, L. J., Howard, J. E., McGill, K. C. 1990; 13 (7): 621-628

    Abstract:

    We have measured the firing rate and amplitude of 4551 motor unit action potentials (MUAPs) recorded with concentric needle electrodes from the brachial biceps muscles of 10 healthy young adults before, during, and after 45 minutes of intermittent isometric exercise at 20% of maximum voluntary contraction (MVC), using an automatic method for decomposition of electromyographic activity (ADEMG). During and after exercise, MUAPs derived from contractions of 30% MVC showed progressive increase in mean firing rate (P less than or equal to .01) and amplitude (P less than or equal to .05). The firing rate increase preceded the rise in mean amplitude, and was evident prior to the development of fatigue, defined as reduction of MVC. Analysis of individual potentials revealed that the increase in firing rate and in amplitude reflected different MUAP subpopulations. A short-term (less than 1 minute) reduction in MUAP firing rates (P less than or equal to .05) was also observed at the onset of each test contraction. These findings suggest that motor units exhibit a triphasic behavioral response to prolonged submaximal exercise: (1) short-term decline and stabilization of onset firing rates, followed by (2) gradual and progressive increase in firing rates and firing variability, and then by (3) recruitment of additional (larger) motor units. The (2) and (3) components presumably compensate for loss of force-generating capacity in the exercising muscle, and give rise jointly to the well-known increase in total surface EMG which accompanies muscle fatigue.

    View details for Web of Science ID A1990DL33300010

    View details for PubMedID 2388662

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