Contraction intensity and sex differences in knee-extensor fatigability

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Abstract

Females are less fatigable than males during isometric contractions across various muscles and intensities. However, sex differences in knee-extensor fatigability remain relatively unexplored. Purpose:To determine the sex difference in performance fatigability for intermittent, isometric contractions of the knee-extensor muscles. Methods:Eighteen participants (10 males, 8 females) performed intermittent, isometric, knee-extensor contractions at 30% of their maximal voluntary force (MVC) for 30 min and in a separate session at 50% MVC until task-failure. During both fatiguing protocols a MVC was performed every 60s and electromyography (EMG) was recorded during all contractions. Results:At task completion males had a larger reduction in MVC force for the 30% MVC task (−32±15% vs. −15±16%, P=0.042) and the 50% MVC task (−34±8% vs. −24±1%, P=0.045). Furthermore, for the 50% MVC task, females had a longer task duration (937±525 s vs. 397±153 s, P=0.007). The rise in EMG activity and force fluctuations were more rapid for the males than females (P<0.05). When participants were matched for strength post-hoc (n=10), a sex difference in fatigability for both tasks was still evident. Conclusions: Females were less fatigable than males during intermittent, isometric, knee-extensor contractions at moderate relative forces and this difference was independent of strength.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-74
JournalJournal of Electromyography and Kinesiology
Volume37
Early online date21 Sep 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017

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