Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

European Journal of Applied Physiology




School of Medical and Health Sciences / Centre for Human Performance


Open Access funding enabled and organized by CAUL and its Member Institutions


Blazevich, A. J., Mesquita, R. N. O., Pinto, R. S., Pulverenti, T., & Ratel, S.(2024). Reduction and recovery of self-sustained muscle activity after fatiguing plantar flexor contractions. European Journal of Applied Physiology. Advance online publication.


Purpose: Persistent inward calcium and sodium currents (PICs) are crucial for initiation and maintenance of motoneuron firing, and thus muscular force. However, there is a lack of data describing the effects of fatiguing exercise on PIC activity in humans. We simultaneously applied tendon vibration and neuromuscular electrical stimulation (VibStim) before and after fatiguing exercise. VibStim induces self-sustained muscle activity that is proposed to result from PIC activation. Methods: Twelve men performed 5-s maximal isometric plantar flexor contractions (MVC) with 5-s rests until joint torque was reduced to 70%MVC. VibStim trials consisted of five 2-s trains of neuromuscular electrical stimulation (20 Hz, evoking 10% MVC) of triceps surae with simultaneous Achilles tendon vibration (115 Hz) without voluntary muscle activation. VibStim was applied before (PRE), immediately (POST), 5-min (POST-5), and 10-min (POST-10) after exercise completion. Results: Sustained torque (Tsust) and soleus electromyogram amplitudes (EMG) measured 3 s after VibStim were reduced (Tsust: −59.0%, p < 0.001; soleus EMG: −38.4%, p < 0.001) but largely recovered by POST-5, and changes in MVC and Tsust were correlated across the four time points (r = 0.69; p < 0.001). After normalisation to values obtained at the end of the vibration phase to control for changes in fibre-specific force and EMG signal characteristics, decreases in Tsust (−42.9%) and soleus EMG (−22.6%) remained significant and were each correlated with loss and recovery of MVC (r = 0.41 and 0.46, respectively). Conclusion: The parallel changes observed in evoked self-sustained muscle activity and force generation capacity provide motivation for future examinations on the potential influence of fatigue-induced PIC changes on motoneuron output.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.