Cardiovascular adjustments to rhythmic handgrip exercise: relationship to electromyographic activity and post-exercise hyperemia
The purpose of this study was to examine the separate effects of contraction force and frequency on postexercise hyperemia in the human calf muscle. Nine male subjects were used. Each was seated in a chair with the right foot on a pedal coupled to a load cell and the knee secured. Calf muscle blood flow, measured by a Whitney gauge, was determined before and periodically after 3-pmin bouts of rhythmic isometric plantar-flexor exercise. The contraction frequency was graded from 20 to 50 to 80 contractions/min. The force per contraction was graded from 7.5 to 15 to 30% of maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) of the calf muscle. The average MCV was 502 lb. Peak postexercise blood flow (PBF) increased with either increasing frequency at a given force or increasing force at a given frequency. However, at the higher levels of exercise, PBF tended to plateau at a value of about 50 ml.min-1.100 ml-1. The plateau phase of PBF was associated with a substantial increase in the total volume of postexercise hyperemia. This appeared to be well above any repayment of a blood flow deficit. However, it is not certain that the extra volume represented the repayment of a true blood flow debt.