Changes in muscle contractile properties and neural control during human muscular fatigue

  title={Changes in muscle contractile properties and neural control during human muscular fatigue},
  author={B. Bigland-ritchie and J. J. Woods},
  journal={Muscle \& Nerve},
The factors limiting force production and exercise endurance time have been briefly described, together with some of the changes occurring at various sites within the muscle and central nervous system. Evidence is presented that, in fatigue of sustained maximal voluntary contractions (MVC) executed by well‐motivated subjects, the reduction in force generating capacity need not be due to a decline in central nervous system (CNS) motor drive or to failing neuromuscular transmission, but can be… 
Force maintenance with submaximal fatiguing contractions.
  • David G. Behm
  • Biology
    Canadian journal of applied physiology = Revue canadienne de physiologie appliquee
  • 2004
There is evidence of neural potentiation and a dissociation of muscle activity with submaximal fatigue, and inhibitory afferent influences from chemical, tensile, pressure, and other factors play an important role in the competing influences on force output.
Spinal and supraspinal factors in human muscle fatigue.
Evidence for "central" fatigue and the neural mechanisms underlying it are reviewed, together with its terminology and the methods used to reveal it.
Fatigue alters in vivo function within and between limb muscles during locomotion
It is shown that limb kinematics and contractile function in the lateral and medial gastrocnemius of helmeted guineafowl are significantly altered following fatiguing exercise at 2 m s−1 on an inclined treadmill, and fascicle shortening in the proximal MG, but not the distal MG, decreased significantly with fatigue.
1 Muscle fatigue can be defined as any exercise‐induced loss of ability to produce force with a muscle or muscle group. It involves processes at all levels of the motor pathway between the brain and
Neural Control of Force Output During Maximal and Submaximal Exercise
It is proposed that neural strategies exist to maintain muscle reserve, and inhibit exercise activity before any irreparable damage to muscles and organs occurs, and that fatigue is probably not a physiological entity, but rather a sensory manifestation of these neural regulatory mechanisms.
A metabolic basis for impaired muscle force production and neuromuscular compensation during sprint cycling.
It is concluded that impaired muscle force production and compensatory neuromuscular activity during sprinting are triggered by a reliance on anaerobic metabolism for force production.
Role of Excitation-Contraction Coupling in Muscle Fatigue
The accumulation of phosphate and protons which occur during fatigue cause a reduction in calcium sensitivity and a decline in maximal force, and experiments involving intracellular calcium measurements in isolated single fibres show that all 3 of the above contribute to the decline of force during fatigue.
The role of motor unit rate modulation versus recruitment in repeated submaximal voluntary contractions performed by control and spinal cord injured subjects.
  • C. Thomas, A. del Valle
  • Biology
    Journal of electromyography and kinesiology : official journal of the International Society of Electrophysiological Kinesiology
  • 2001
Neuromuscular Factors Contributing to Reductions in Muscle Force After Repeated, High-Intensity Muscular Efforts
The data indicate that a decrease in muscle function largely underpins the loss of force after repeated, high-intensity muscular efforts, but that the loss is exacerbated immediately after the exercise by simultaneous decreases in corticospinal excitability and PIC amplitudes at the motor neurons.
Challenging the role of pH in skeletal muscle fatigue.
The purpose of this update is to provide a brief review of the role of pH in the development of muscle fatigue, which is mainly the result of a decrease in pH within the muscle cell due to a rise in hydrogen ion concentration resulting from anaerobic metabolism and the accumulation of lactic acid.


Contractile speed and EMG changes during fatigue of sustained maximal voluntary contractions.
It is concluded that during a 60-s sustained maximal voluntary contraction there is a progressive slowing of contraction speed such that the excitation rate required to give maximal force generation is reduced, the simultaneous decline in EMG may be due to a continuous reduction in motoneuron discharge rate, and the EMG decline may not necessarily contribute to force loss.
Voluntary strength and fatigue
  • P. Merton
  • Biology
    The Journal of physiology
  • 1954
The paper shows that a maximal voluntary effort develops the same tension as a maximal tetanus artificially excited; in the second part the same equality is found to persist during fatigue, implying that in fatigue, too, the limitation of strength is peripheral.
Central and peripheral fatigue in sustained maximum voluntary contractions of human quadriceps muscle.
It is concluded that in sustained maximum voluntary contractions of the quadriceps central fatigue may account for an appreciable proportion of the force loss, and surface EMG recordings provide no evidence that neuromuscular junction failure is the limiting factor determining the loss of force in this muscle.
Fatigue of Sustained Tetanic Contribctions
The results from man support the view of Merton (1954) that the process of fatigue developing during a sustained titanic contraction is a purely peripheral phenomenon and it is found in contrast to Merton that the action potentiais always decrease during the reduction of the mechanical response.
Motor-unit discharge rates in maximal voluntary contractions of three human muscles.
An argument is presented that suggests that, in response to voluntary effort, the range of discharge rates of each motor-unit pool is limited to those only just sufficient to produce maximum force in each motor unit.
Relation between force and fatigability of red and pale skeletal muscles in man.
It is suggested that muscle units composed of pale fibers fatigue selectively in mixed muscles containing many such units, while fatigue effects are more difficult to produce and are distributed more uniformly in predominantly red muscles.
Fatigue of long duration in human skeletal muscle after exercise.
The long‐lasting element of fatigue is not due to depletion of high‐energy phosphate nor is it due to failure of electrical activity as recorded from surface electrodes, but is probably the result of an impairment of the process of excitation‐contraction coupling.
Failure of neuromuscular propagation in rats
In the experiments about to be described, researchers have studied with intracellular micro-electrodes both in vitro and In situ the mechanism of neuromuscular failure in rats; a number of observations were made which, it is believed, may throw some new light on this subject.