Effect of stimulation intensity on assessment of voluntary activation

D.M. van Leeuwen, C.J. de Ruiter, A. de Haan

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    Abstract

    Introduction: The interpolated twitch technique is often used to assess voluntary activation (VA) of skeletal muscles. We investigated VA and the voluntary torque-superimposed torque relationship using either supramaximal nerve stimulation or better tolerated submaximal muscle stimulation, which is often used with patients. Methods: Thirteen healthy subjects performed maximal and submaximal isometric knee extensions with superimposed maximal or submaximal doublets (100 Hz). Results: Superimposed torque relative to potentiated resting doublets was smaller with maximal nerve than with submaximal muscle stimulation. Maximal VA was 87 ± 7% and 93 ± 5% for submaximal muscle and maximal nerve stimulation, respectively. The individual voluntary torque-superimposed torque relationships were more linear for submaximal muscle stimulation, possibly leading to less overestimation of VA. Conclusions: Submaximal muscle stimulation can be used to estimate VA in the knee extensors. It is less painful, and overestimation of VA may be less compared with maximal nerve stimulation. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)841-8
    JournalMuscle and Nerve
    Volume45
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

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