Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
from September 2014
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2008) 07, 467 - 474

Research article
Muscle Activation During Low-Intensity Muscle Contractions With Varying Levels of External Limb Compression
Tomohiro Yasuda1,3, , William F. Brechue2, Taku Fujita1, Yoshiaki Sato3, Takashi Abe4
Author Information
1 Department of Exercise and Sport Science, Graduate School of Science, Tokyo Metropolitan University, Tokyo, Japan
2 Center for Physical Development Excellence, Department of Physical Education, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York, United States
3 Department of Ischemic Circulatory Physiology, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
4 Institute of Environmental Studies, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Chiba, Japan

Tomohiro Yasuda
‚úČ Department of Ischemic Circulatory Physiology, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1, Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8655, Japan
Publish Date
Received: 12-05-2008
Accepted: 22-08-2008
Published (online): 01-12-2008
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The purpose was to investigate muscle activation during low- intensity muscle contractions with various levels of external limb compression to reduce muscle perfusion/outflow. A series of unilateral elbow flexion muscle contractions (30 repetitive contractions followed by 3 sets x 15 contractions) was performed at 20% of 1RM with varying levels of external compression (0 (without compression), 98, 121, and 147 mmHg external compression) around the upper arm. Electromyography (EMG) signals were recorded from surface electrodes placed on the biceps brachii muscle and analyzed for integrated EMG (iEMG). Maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVC) decreased similarly during the control (0 mmHg) and 98 mmHg external compression bout (~18%); the decline in MVC with 121 and 147 mmHg external compression was significantly greater (~37%). Muscle activation increased progressively throughout the contraction bout with each level of external compression, but iEMG was significantly greater during 147 mmHg external compression. In conclusion, low-intensity muscle contractions performed with external compression of 147 mmHg appears to alter muscle perfusion/outflow leading to increased muscle activation without decrements in work performed during the contraction bout.

Key words: Neuromuscular function, EMG, cuff pressure, biceps brachii, ischemia

           Key Points
  • Low-intensity muscle contractions with external compression are maintained by greater neural activation.
  • It appears there is optimal external compression pressure for increased muscle activation without exaggerated fatigue.
  • External compression per arm circumference was related to the neuromuscular response and fatigue.
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