Comparison between alternating and pulsed current electrical muscle stimulation for acute muscle and systemic responses
American Physiology Society
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Science / Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research
This study compared alternating current and pulsed current electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) for torque output, skin temperature (Tsk), blood lactate and hormonal responses, and skeletal muscle damage markers. Twelve healthy men (23–48 yr) received alternating current EMS (2.5 kHz delivered at 75 Hz, 400 µs) for the knee extensors of one leg and pulsed current (75 Hz, 400 µs) for the other leg to induce 40 isometric contractions (on-off ratio 5–15 s) at the knee joint angle of 100° (0°: full extension). The use of the legs for each condition was counterbalanced among subjects, and the two EMS bouts were separated by 2 wk. The current amplitude was consistently increased to maximally tolerable level, and the torque and perceived intensity were recorded over 40 isometric contractions. Tsk of the stimulated and contralateral knee extensors were measured before, during, and for 30 min after EMS. Blood lactate, growth hormone, testosterone, insulin-like growth factor 1, testosterone, and cortisol were measured before, during, and for 45 min following EMS. Muscle damage markers included maximal voluntary isometric contraction torque, muscle soreness with a 100-mm visual analog scale, and plasma creatine kinase (CK) activity, which were measured before and 1, 24, 48, 72, and 96 h after EMS. No significant differences in the torque induced during stimulation (~30% maximal voluntary isometric contraction) and perceived intensity were found, and changes in Tsk, blood lactate, and hormones were not significantly different between conditions. However, all of the measures showed significant (P< 0.05) changes from baseline values. Skeletal muscle damage was evidenced by prolonged strength loss, development of muscle soreness, and increases in plasma CK activity; however, the changes in the variables were not significantly different between conditions. It is concluded that acute effects of alternating and pulsed current EMS on the stimulated muscles are similar.