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Neurosci Lett. 2007 Aug 31;424(1):41-6. Epub 2007 Aug 1.

Effect of electrostimulation training-detraining on neuromuscular fatigue mechanisms.

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Laboratory INSERM U887, Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Burgundy, BP 27877, 21078 Dijon, France.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) training and subsequent detraining on neuromuscular fatigue mechanisms. Ten young healthy men completed one NMES fatigue protocol before and after a NMES training program of 4 weeks and again after 4 weeks of detraining. Muscle fatigue (maximal voluntary torque loss), central fatigue (activation failure), and peripheral fatigue (transmission failure and contractile failure) of the plantar flexor muscles were assessed by using a series of electrically evoked and voluntary contractions with concomitant electromyographic and torque recordings. At baseline, maximal voluntary torque decreased significantly with fatigue (P<0.001), due to both activation and transmission failure. After detraining, maximal voluntary torque loss was significantly reduced (P<0.05). In the same way, the relative decrease in muscle activation after training and detraining was significantly lower compared to baseline values (P<0.05). Short-term NMES training-detraining of the plantar flexor muscles significantly reduced the muscle fatigue associated to one single NMES exercise session. This was mainly attributable to a reduction in activation failure, i.e., lower central fatigue, probably as a result of subject's accommodation to pain and discomfort during NMES.

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