Sports Medicine

, Volume 37, Issue 7, pp 615–624 | Cite as

A Brief Review of the Use of Near Infrared Spectroscopy with Particular Interest in Resistance Exercise

  • Marta I. R. Pereira
  • Paulo S. C. Gomes
  • Yagesh N. Bhambhani
Review Article


There is growing interest in resistance training, but many aspects related to this type of exercise are still not fully understood. Performance varies substantially depending on how resistance training variables are manipulated. Fatigue is a complex phenomenon usually attributed to central (neuronal) and/or peripheral (muscular) origin. Cerebral oxygenation may be associated with the decision to stop exercise, and muscle oxygenation may be related to resistance training responses. Near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) is a non-invasive optical technique used to monitor cerebral and muscle oxygenation levels. The purpose of this review is to briefly describe the NIRS technique, validation and reliability, and its application in resistance exercise. NIRS-measured oxygenation in cerebral tissue has been validated against magnetic resonance imaging during motor tasks. In muscle tissue, NIRS-measured oxygenation was shown to be highly related to venous oxygen saturation and muscle oxidative rate was closely related to phosphocreatine resynthesis, measured by 31P-magnetic resonance spectroscopy after exercise. The test-retest reliability of cerebral and muscle NIRS measurements have been established under a variety of experimental conditions, including static and dynamic exercise. Although NIRS has been used extensively to evaluate muscle oxygenation levels during aerobic exercise, only four studies have used this technique to examine these changes during typical resistance training exercises. Muscle oxygenation was influenced by different resistance exercise protocols depending on the load or duration of exercise, the number of sets and the muscle being monitored. NIRS is a promising, non-invasive technique that can be used to evaluate cerebral and muscle oxygenation levels simultaneously during exercise, thereby improving our understanding of the mechanisms influencing performance and fatigue.


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Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marta I. R. Pereira
    • 1
    • 2
  • Paulo S. C. Gomes
    • 1
  • Yagesh N. Bhambhani
    • 3
  1. 1.Centro de Pesquisas Interdisciplinares em Saúde & Programa de Pós-graduação em Educação FísicaUniversidade Gama FilhoRio de JaneiroBrazil
  2. 2.Curso de Educação FísicaUniversidade Estácio de SáRio de JaneiroBrazil
  3. 3.Department of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Rehabilitation MedicineUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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