Effects of electrical stimulation pattern on quadriceps force production and fatigue



Introduction: Mixed stimulation programs (MIX) that switch from constant frequency trains (CFT) to variable frequency trains have been proposed to offset the rapid fatigue induced by CFT during electrical stimulation. However, this has never been confirmed with long stimulation patterns, such as those used to evoke functional contractions. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that MIX programs were less fatiguing than CFTs in strength training-like conditions (6-s contractions, 30-min). Methods: Thirteen healthy subjects underwent 2 sessions corresponding to MIX and CFT programs. Measurements included maximal voluntary isometric torque and torque evoked by each contraction. Results: There were greater decreases of voluntary and evoked torque (P < 0.05) after CFT than MIX, and mean torque was 13 ± 1% higher during the MIX session (P < 0.05). Conclusions: These findings confirm that combining train types might be a useful strategy to offset rapid fatigue during electrical stimulation sessions with long-duration contractions. Muscle Nerve 49: 760–763, 2014