Consequences of prolonged total thermoneutral immersion on muscle performance and EMG activity
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We hypothesized that the changes in muscle temperature and interstitial pressure during thermoneutral immersion may affect the reflex adaptation of the motor drive during static contraction, assessed by the decrease in median frequency (MF) of electromyogram (EMG) power spectrum. Ten subjects were totally immerged for 6 h at 35°C and repeated maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) and submaximal (60% MVC) leg extensions sustained until exhaustion. In vastus lateralis (VL) and soleus (SOL) muscles, the compound muscle potential evoked by muscle stimulation with single shocks (M-wave) was recorded at rest, and MF of surface EMG was calculated during 60% MVCs. We measured lactic acid and potassium venous blood concentrations and calculated plasma volume changes. Data were compared to those obtained in the same individuals exercising at 35°C under dry conditions where the MF decrease during 60% MVCs was modest (−4 to−5%). During immersion, the rectal temperature remained stable, but the thigh and calf surface temperatures significantly increased. Lactic acid and potassium concentrations did not vary, but plasma volume decreased from the 180th min of immersion. The M-wave did not vary in VL but was prolonged in SOL from the 30th min of immersion. From the 220th min of immersion, the maximal MF decrease was majored in both muscles (−18 to −22%). Thus, compared to the dry condition, total body thermoneutral immersion enhances fatigue-induced EMG changes in leg muscles, perhaps through the activation of warm-sensitive muscle endings and/or the changes in interstitial pressure because of vasodilatation.
KeywordsThermoneutral immersion Maximal voluntary contraction Submaximal contraction M-Wave EMG spectrum
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