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Is maximum stimulation intensity required in the assessment of muscle activation capacity?

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/12/2012
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology
Issue number6
Number of pages5
Pages (from-to)873-877
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Voluntary activation assessment using the interpolation twitch technique (ITT) has almost invariably been done using maximal stimulation intensity, i.e., an intensity beyond which no additional joint moment or external force is produced by increasing further the intensity of stimulation. The aim of the study was to identify the minimum stimulation intensity at which percutaneous ITT yields valid results. Maximal stimulation intensity and the force produced at that intensity were identified for the quadriceps muscle using percutaneous electrodes in eight active men. The stimulation intensities producing 10-90% (in 10% increments) of that force were determined and subsequently applied during isometric contractions at 90% of maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) via twitch doublets. Muscle activation was calculated with the ITT and pain scores were obtained for each stimulation intensity and compared to the respective values at maximum stimulation intensity. Muscle activation at maximal stimulation intensity was 91.6 (2.5)%. The lowest stimulation intensity yielding comparable muscle activation results to maximal stimulation was 50% (88.8 (3.9)%, p<0.05). Pain score at maximal stimulation intensity was 6.6 (1.5) cm and it was significantly reduced at 60% stimulation intensity (3.7 (1.5) cm, p<0.05) compared to maximal stimulation intensity. Submaximal stimulation can produce valid ITT results while reducing the discomfort obtained by the subjects, widening the assessment of ITT to situations where discomfort may otherwise impede maximal electrostimulation.