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Electromyogram as an indicator of neuromuscular fatigue during incremental exercise

Abstract : This study analysed the changes in the elec-tromyographic activity (EMG) of the vastus lateralis muscle (VL) during an incremental maximal oxygen uptake test on a treadmill. A breakpoint in the integrated electromyogram (iEMG)-velocity relationship has already been interpreted in two ways: either as a sign of neuromuscular fatigue or as an expression of the iEMG-velocity relationship characteristics. The aim of this study was to test a method of distinguishing fatigue e€ects from those due to increases in exercise power. Eight well-trained male runners took part in the study. They completed a running protocol consisting of 4-min stages of increments in power output. Between each stage (about 15 s after the start of a minute at rest), the subjects had to maintain a standard e€ort: a 10-s iso-metric leg extension contraction [50% isometric maximal voluntary contraction (IMVC)]. The EMG was recorded during the running and isometric protocols, a change in the EMG signal during the isometric exercise being considered as the sign of fatigue. The iEMG-velocity relationships were strongly ®tted by a second-order polynomial function for data taken at both the start (r ˆ 0.98) and the end (r ˆ 0.98) of the stage. Based on the stability of the 50%IMVC-iEMG relationship noted between stages, the start-iEMG has been identi-®ed as expressing the iEMG-velocity relationship without fatigue. The stage after which end-iEMG increased signi®cantly more steeply than start-iEMG was considered as the iEMG threshold and was simultaneous with the ventilatory equivalent for carbon dioxide threshold. The parallel changes of minute ventilation and iEMG would suggest the existence of common regulation stimuli linked either to e€ort intensity and/or to metabolic conditions. The fall in intracellular [K + ] has been discussed as being one of the main factors in regulating ventilation.
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Christine Hanon, C. Thépaut-Mathieu, Christophe Hausswirth, J. M. Le Chevalier. Electromyogram as an indicator of neuromuscular fatigue during incremental exercise. European Journal of Applied Physiology, Springer Verlag, 1998, 78 (4), pp.315-323. ⟨10.1007/s004210050426⟩. ⟨hal-01623789⟩



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