Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) with large electrodes and multiple current pathways (m-NMES) has recently been proposed as a valid alternative to conventional NMES (c-NMES) for quadriceps muscle (re)training. The main aim of this study was to compare discomfort, evoked force and fatigue between m-NMES and c-NMES of the quadriceps femoris muscle in healthy subjects.
Ten healthy subjects completed two experimental sessions (c-NMES and m-NMES), that were randomly presented in a cross-over design. Maximal electrically evoked force at pain threshold, self-reported discomfort at different levels of evoked force, and fatigue-induced force declines during and following a series of 20 NMES contractions were compared between c-NMES and m-NMES.
m-NMES resulted in greater evoked force (P < 0.05) and lower discomfort in comparison to c-NMES (P < 0.05–0.001), but fatigue time course and magnitude did not differ between the two conditions.
The use of quadriceps m-NMES appears legitimate for (re)training purposes because it generated stronger contractions and was less discomfortable than c-NMES (due to multiple current pathways and/or lower current density with larger electrodes).
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Conventional neuromuscular electrical stimulation
Multipath neuromuscular electrical stimulation
Maximal voluntary contraction
Neuromuscular electrical stimulation
Visual analogue scale
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The authors thank Bio-Medical Research Ltd. (Galway, Ireland) for logistical support during the experimental phase of the study.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest regarding this study.
Communicated by Toshio Moritani.
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Maffiuletti, N.A., Vivodtzev, I., Minetto, M.A. et al. A new paradigm of neuromuscular electrical stimulation for the quadriceps femoris muscle. Eur J Appl Physiol 114, 1197–1205 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-014-2849-2
- Evoked force