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Relationship between average muscle fibre conduction velocity and EMG power spectra during isometric contraction, recovery and applied ischemia

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The relationship between muscle fibre conduction velocity (MFCV) and the power spectrum of surface EMGs in 3 human volunteers was studied during isometric contractions at 40% maximum voluntary contraction. In addition, the recovery of these two parameters was measured during short lasting contractions at the same force level every 30 s. The recovery phase was also studied during ischaemia, thereby preventing the recovery of MFCV.

The mean MFCV was calculated by the cross-correlation method. The measurements were facilitated by a real-time estimation of the cross-correlation and the MFCV and by a graphic display of the digitised signal.

During contraction a nearly linear relation was found between MFCV and the median frequency of the power spectrum (MPF). During recovery this relationship was lost in one subject: MPF restored much faster then MFCV. During recovery under ischemia MFCV did not recover, but MPF recovered partially in all subjects.

It is concluded that the shift of the power spectrum to lower frequencies during fatigue cannot be explained by changes in MFCV alone. Central mechanisms also influence the power spectrum and studying the recovery of local muscle fatigue during ischemia may separate these influences from that of MFCV on the power spectrum during fatigue.

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Correspondence to M. J. Zwarts.

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Zwarts, M.J., Van Weerden, T.W. & Haenen, H.T.M. Relationship between average muscle fibre conduction velocity and EMG power spectra during isometric contraction, recovery and applied ischemia. Europ. J. Appl. Physiol. 56, 212–216 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00640646

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Key words

  • Muscle fibre conduction velocity
  • EMG power spectral shift
  • Muscular fatigue
  • Recovery
  • Ischaemia