• decomposition;
  • electromyography;
  • force;
  • isometric;
  • motor control


Introduction: The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of fatigue on the average firing rate versus recruitment threshold relationships for the vastus lateralis (VL) and vastus medialis. Methods: Nineteen subjects performed ten maximum voluntary contractions of the dominant leg extensors. Before and after this fatiguing protocol, the subjects performed a trapezoid isometric muscle action of the leg extensors, and bipolar surface electromyographic signals were detected from both muscles. These signals were then decomposed into individual motor unit action potential trains. For each subject and muscle, the relationship between average firing rate and recruitment threshold was examined using linear regression analyses. Results: For the VL, the linear slope coefficients and y-intercepts for these relationships increased and decreased, respectively, after fatigue. For both muscles, many of the motor units decreased their firing rates. Conclusion: With fatigue, recruitment of higher threshold motor units resulted in an increase in slope for the VL. Muscle Nerve 45: 100–109, 2012