Pflügers Archiv

, Volume 448, Issue 5, pp 525–532 | Cite as

Strategies that improve human skeletal muscle performance during repetitive, non-isometric contractions

  • Maikutlo B. Kebaetse
  • Stuart A. Binder-Macleod
Neuromuscular Function


Previous studies have suggested that during sustained maximal voluntary and evoked contractions, decreasing activation rates may minimize fatigue. The idea of gradually decreasing stimulation frequency to preserve force during fatiguing isometric contractions has, however, recently been challenged. The primary purpose of this study was to test the effectiveness of decreasing or increasing electrical stimulation rates during evoked, repetitive, submaximal, non-isometric contractions of healthy human quadriceps femoris muscles. The ability of the muscles to produce a 50° knee excursion repetitively was evaluated using low-frequency trains, high-frequency trains, and a combination of these trains. Results showed that stimulating the muscles with high-frequency trains followed by low-frequency trains produced the worst performance and starting with low-frequency trains followed by high-frequency trains produced the best performance. Present results cast doubt on the applicability of decreasing stimulation rates during non-isometric contractions and suggest that a combination of trains that begin at a low frequency and then switch to a higher-frequency may improve performance during functional electrical stimulation.


Electrically elicited contractions Muscle wisdom Non-isometric contractions 



This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health grant HD 36797 to Dr. S.A. Binder-Macleod.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag  2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maikutlo B. Kebaetse
    • 1
  • Stuart A. Binder-Macleod
    • 2
  1. 1.Programs in Biomechanics and Movement Science, 303 McKinly LaboratoryUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Physical Therapy, 303 McKinly LaboratoryUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA

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