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Gender Differences In Skeletal Muscle Fatigability Are Related To Contraction Type And EMG Spectral Compression.

B. C. Clark, T. Manini, Dwight J Thé, N. A. Doldo, L. Ploutz-Snyder
Published 2003 · Medicine, Chemistry

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The purposes of this study were 1) to evaluate gender differences in back extensor endurance capacity during isometric and isotonic muscular contractions, 2) to determine the relation between absolute load and endurance time, and 3) to compare men [n = 10, age 22.4 +/- 0.69 (SE) yr] and women (n = 10, age 21.7 +/- 1.07 yr) in terms of neuromuscular activation patterns and median frequency (MF) shifts in the electromyogram (EMG) power spectrum of the lumbar and hip extensor muscles during fatiguing submaximal isometric trunk extension exercise. Subjects performed isotonic and isometric trunk extension exercise to muscular failure at 50% of maximum voluntary contraction force. Women exhibited a longer endurance time than men during the isometric task (146.0 +/- 10.9 vs. 105.4 +/- 7.9 s), but there was no difference in endurance performance during the isotonic exercise (24.3 +/- 3.4 vs. 24.0 +/- 2.8 repetitions). Absolute load was significantly related to isometric endurance time in the pooled sample (R(2) = 0.34) but not when men and women were analyzed separately (R(2) = 0.05 and 0.04, respectively). EMG data showed no differences in neuromuscular activation patterns; however, gender differences in MF shifts were observed. Women demonstrated a similar fatigability in the biceps femoris and lumbar extensors, whereas in men, the fatigability was more pronounced in the lumbar musculature than in the biceps femoris. Additionally, the MF of the lumbar extensors demonstrated a greater association with endurance time in men than in women (R(2) = 0.45 vs. 0.19). These findings suggest that gender differences in muscle fatigue are influenced by muscle contraction type and frequency shifts in the EMG signal but not by alterations in the synergistic activation patterns.
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