Physiological response in the forearm during and after isometric intermittent handgrip

Summary

The aim of the present paper was to study the development of fatigue during isometric intermittent handgrip exercise. Using a handgrip dynamometer, four combinations of contraction-relaxation periods were studied (10+10, 10+5, 10+2s and continuous contraction) at three contraction intensities (10, 25 and 40% maximum voluntary contraction, MVC). Local blood flow (BF) in the forearm (venous occlusion plethysmography) was followed before, during and after the exercise period. Electromyography (EMG) (frequency analysis) and the perceived effort and pain were recorded during the exercise period. Forearm BF is insufficient even at isometric contractions of low intensity (10% MVC). The results indicate that vasodilating metabolites play an active role for BF in low-intensity isometric contractions. It is shown that maximal BF in the forearm during relaxation periods (25–30 ml min−1 · 100 ml−1) is already reached at 25% MVC. Only intermittent exercise at 10% MVC and (10+5s) and (10+10s) at 25% MVC was considered acceptable with regard to local fatigue, which was defined as a switch of local BF to the post-exercise period, a decrease in the number of zero-crossings (EMG) and marked increases in subjective ratings.

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Correspondence to S. E. G. Byström.

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Byström, S.E.G., Kilbom, Å. Physiological response in the forearm during and after isometric intermittent handgrip. Europ. J. Appl. Physiol. 60, 457–466 (1990). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00705037

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Key words

  • Fatigue
  • Forearm
  • Intermittent handgrip
  • Blood flow
  • Electromyography