Electrical and mechanical response of skeletal muscle to electrical stimulation after acute passive stretching in humans: A combined electromyographic and mechanomyographic approach

Emiliano Cè, Elena Paracchino, Fabio Esposito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Two mechanisms have been suggested to explain stretching-induced maximum force depression: a mechanical alteration in the stretched muscle and an impairment of neural activation. Electrical stimulation allows standardization of the level of muscle activation without being limited by neural control. The aim of this study was to evaluate the stretching-induced changes in the electrical and mechanical properties of muscle during electrically elicited contractions. Twelve participants (age 22 ± 1 years; body mass 75 ± 2 kg; stature 1.79 ± 0.02 m; mean ± standard error) underwent six electrical stimulations of the medial gastrocnemius muscle before and after stretching. During the contractions, surface electromyogram (EMG) and mechanomyogram (MMG) were recorded simultaneously together with force. After stretching we found: (i) no differences in EMG parameters; (ii) MMG amplitude decreased by 4 ± 1% (P <0.05); and (iii) the peak force, the peak rate of force development, and the acceleration peak of force development decreased by 12 ± 3%, 14 ± 1%, and 24 ± 5%, respectively (P <0.05). In conclusion, acute passive stretching did not change EMG properties but altered the mechanical characteristics of the contracting muscle. Indeed, muscle force-generating capacity and stiffness of the muscle-tendon unit were significantly impaired.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1567-1577
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Volume26
Issue number14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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Muscle Stretching Exercises
Electric Stimulation
Skeletal Muscle
Muscles
Electromyography
Tendons

Keywords

  • Electrical stimulation
  • Isometric contraction
  • Mechanomyogram
  • Muscle-tendon unit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

Cite this

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abstract = "Two mechanisms have been suggested to explain stretching-induced maximum force depression: a mechanical alteration in the stretched muscle and an impairment of neural activation. Electrical stimulation allows standardization of the level of muscle activation without being limited by neural control. The aim of this study was to evaluate the stretching-induced changes in the electrical and mechanical properties of muscle during electrically elicited contractions. Twelve participants (age 22 ± 1 years; body mass 75 ± 2 kg; stature 1.79 ± 0.02 m; mean ± standard error) underwent six electrical stimulations of the medial gastrocnemius muscle before and after stretching. During the contractions, surface electromyogram (EMG) and mechanomyogram (MMG) were recorded simultaneously together with force. After stretching we found: (i) no differences in EMG parameters; (ii) MMG amplitude decreased by 4 ± 1{\%} (P <0.05); and (iii) the peak force, the peak rate of force development, and the acceleration peak of force development decreased by 12 ± 3{\%}, 14 ± 1{\%}, and 24 ± 5{\%}, respectively (P <0.05). In conclusion, acute passive stretching did not change EMG properties but altered the mechanical characteristics of the contracting muscle. Indeed, muscle force-generating capacity and stiffness of the muscle-tendon unit were significantly impaired.",
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