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Eur J Appl Physiol. 2011 Apr;111(4):647-58. doi: 10.1007/s00421-010-1688-z. Epub 2010 Oct 16.

The relationship between oxygenation and myoelectric activity in the forearm and shoulder muscles of males and females.

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Centre for Musculoskeletal Research, University of Gävle, Box 7629, 907 12 Umea, Sweden.


The aim was to investigate the relationship between oxygen saturation (StO(2)%) measured with near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) and myoelectric activity (root mean square, RMS) for the extensor carpi radialis (ECR) and trapezius muscles. In addition, gender differences were examined for submaximal (10-70% MVC) and sustained (10% MVC for 5 min) isometric contractions. Thirteen males and 15 females participated. Changes in StO(2)% (∆StO(2)%) and RMS, expressed as percentages of maximum, were calculated for each submaximal contraction. A good correlation between ∆StO(2)% and RMS was seen for the ECR (r = -0.53) and a moderate correlation seen for the trapezius muscle (r = -0.44). The ANOVA showed a significant decrease in ECR-∆StO(2)% over force with females demonstrating a tendency for larger changes than males. ECR-RMS increased over force with no impact of gender. For the trapezius, ∆StO(2)% decreased over force but was not gender dependent. Trapezius-RMS increased over force with females demonstrating a tendency for greater change than males. For the sustained contraction, ECR-StO(2)% changed over time but was not gender dependent. ECR-RMS increased over time with females showing a greater response than males. Trapezius-StO(2)% changed over time and differed between genders, i.e., males increased while females decreased. RMS increased over time similarly for both genders. In conclusion, our data show that the ECR and trapezius aerobic demands during isometric contractions are negatively correlated to electromyography (EMG) RMS. The present study also suggests some gender specificity for forearm and shoulder myoelectric activity and oxygenation for submaximal and sustained contractions.

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