Central and peripheral factors were studied in fatigue of submaximal intermittent isometric contractions of the human quadriceps and soleus muscles. Subjects made repeated 6 s, 50% maximal voluntary contractions (MVC) followed by 4 s rest until the limit of endurance (Tlim). Periodically, a fatigue test was performed. This included a brief MVC, either a single shock or 8 pulses at 50 Hz during a rest period and a shock superimposed on a target force voluntary contraction. At Tlim, the MVC force had declined by 50%, usually in parallel with the force from stimulation at 50 Hz. The twitches superimposed on the target forces declined more rapidly, disappearing entirely at Tlim. In similar experiments on adductor pollicis, no reduction of the evoked M wave was seen. The results suggest that, during fatigue of quadriceps and adductor pollicis induced by this protocol, no central fatigue was apparent, but some was seen in soleus. Thus the reduced force-generating capacity could result mainly or entirely from failure of the muscle contractile apparatus.
- Copyright © 1986 the American Physiological Society