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The Fatigability Of Two Agonistic Muscles In Human Isometric Voluntary Submaximal Contraction: An EMG Study

Bernard Maton, D. Gamet
Published 1989 · Medicine
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SummaryThe recruitment and firing rate of biceps brachii (BB) and brachioradialis (BR) motor units (MUs) were studied in the course of fatiguing isometric contractions at 20%–30% of maximal voluntary contraction (MVC). MU recruitment generally occurred throughout the maintained contraction and was similar for BB and BR muscles. Newly recruited MUs started to discharge in the form of bursts, the duration of which increased until a continuous rhythmical firing was achieved. Within each burst, the first interval between two consecutive discharges was usually the shortest. MU threshold was lowered just after the limit time of the maintained contraction. The MU's firing rate either increased or remained stable as a function of the elapsed time. It is concluded that (1) in fatiguing isometric contractions at 20%–30% MVC contractile failure is mainly compensated for by MU recruitment and a lowered MU threshold and (2) differences between in surface changes in the electromyogram of BB and BR muscles cannot easily be explained by related differences in MU firing rate and recruitment.
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