This study reported on the application of near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) to noninvasive measurements of forearm brachio-radial muscle oxygen consumption (\(\dot V\)O2) and recovery time (tr) in untrained volunteers. Seven healthy subjects were submitted to four consecutive protocols involving measurements made at rest, the induction of an ischaemia, and during a maximal increase of metabolic demand achieved with and without vascular occlusion. Two isometric maximal voluntary contractions (MVC) of 30-s duration were executed with and without vascular occlusion and a 50% MVC lasting 125 s was also performed. The protocols were repeated on 2 different days. The results showed that, during vascular occlusion at rest, the time to 95% of the final haemoglobin (Hb) + myoglobin (Mb) desaturation value was independent of \(\dot V\)O2. The MVC, performed during vascular occlusion, caused complete Hb + Mb desaturation in 15–20 s, which was not followed by any further desaturation when the second contraction was performed. No difference was found between \(\dot V\)O2during MVC with and without vascular occlusion. A consistent difference was seen between \(\dot V\)O2measured during occlusion at rest and \(\dot V\)O2measured during MVC with and without occlusion. During prolonged exercise (125 s) Hb + Mb desaturation was maintained for the whole contraction period. The results of this study show that \(\dot V\)O2can be measured noninvasively by NIRS. The \(\dot V\)O2during MVC was very similar both in the presence and absence of blood flow limitation in most of the subjects tested. This would suggest that muscle \(\dot V\)O2might be accurately evaluated dynamically without cuff occlusion.