Effects of neuromuscular fatigue on the electromechanical delay of the leg extensors and flexors in young and old men
European Journal of Applied Physiology
Purpose The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a fatigue-inducing bout of submaximal, intermittent isometric contractions on the electromechanical delay (EMD) of the leg extensors and flexors in young and old men. Methods Twenty young (mean ± SD: age = 25 ± 2.8 years) and sixteen old (age = 70.8 ± 3.8) recreationally active men performed maximal voluntary contractions (MVCs) followed by a fatigue-inducing protocol consisting of intermittent isometric contractions of the leg extensors or flexors using a 0.6 duty cycle (6 s contraction, 4 s relaxation) at 60 % of MVC until volitional fatigue. MVCs were again performed at 0, 7, 15, and 30 min post fatigue. A three-way mixed factorial ANOVA was used to analyze the EMD data. Results There was a two-way muscle × time interaction (P = 0.039) where the EMD of the leg flexors was greater (P = 0.001–0.034) compared with baseline at all post fatigue time periods, but was only greater at immediately post fatigue for the extensors (P = 0.001). A significant two-way interaction for muscle × age (P = 0.009) revealed that the EMD was greater (P = 0.003) for the extensors for the old compared with the young men, but not different for the flexors (P = 0.506). Conclusions These findings showed differential fatigue-induced EMD recovery patterns between the leg extensors and flexors with the flexors being slower to recover and also that age-related increases of EMD are muscle group specific. The sustained increased EMD of the flexors during recovery may have important injury and performance implications in a variety of populations and settings.
Conchola, E.C., Thompson, B.J., Smith, D.B. (2013). Effects of neuromuscular fatigue on the electromechanical delay of the leg extensors and flexors in young and old men. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 113: 2391-2399.