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Muscle Nerve. 1991 Sep;14(9):850-7.

Use of a catchlike property of human skeletal muscle to reduce fatigue.

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  • 1School of Life and Health Sciences, University of Delaware, Newark 19716.


This study compared the force output produced by variable frequency, short-duration trains (VFTs) of electrical pulses with the forces produced by constant frequency, short-duration trains (CFTs). Human quadriceps femoris muscle was stimulated with a 300-msec train of pulses once every second for 180 seconds. Each subject (n = 12) participated in 4 randomly assigned experimental sessions. During 3 sessions, a CFT of 80, 40 or 20 pps was used. During a fourth session, a VFT, which consisted of all 3 of the above frequencies, was used. The force at 100 msec, average force of each contraction and peak force were calculated for every 30th contraction. By the 90th contraction, the force at 100 msec and the average force were significantly greater for the VFT than for each CFT. Thus, the VFT, by using a catchlike property, may provide significant advantages over any CFT when using electrical stimulation for functional electrical stimulation.

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