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Alternate Activity In The Synergistic Muscles During Prolonged Low-level Contractions

H. Tamaki, K. Kitada, T. Akamine, F. Murata, T. Sakou, H. Kurata

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the functional interrelationship between synergistic muscle activities during low-level fatiguing contractions. Six human subjects performed static and dynamic contractions at an ankle joint angle of 110° plantar flexion and within the range of 90–110° (anatomic position = 90°) under constant load (10% maximal voluntary contraction) for 210 min. Surface electromyogram records from lateral gastrocnemius (LG), medial gastrocnemius (MG), and soleus (Sol) muscles showed high and silent activities alternately in the three muscles and a complementary and alternate activity between muscles in the time course. In the second half of all exercise times, the number of changes in activity increased significantly ( P < 0.05) in each muscle. The ratios of active to silent periods of electromyogram activity were significantly higher ( P< 0.05) in MG (4.5 ± 2.2) and Sol (4.3 ± 2.8) than in the LG (0.4 ± 0.1), but no significant differences were observed between MG and Sol. These results suggest that the relative activation of synergistic motor pools are not constant during a low-level fatiguing task.