Neuromuscular adaptations of the plantar flexor muscles (EMS) were assessed before and subsequent to short-term electromyostimulation (EMS) training. Eight subjects underwent 16 sessions of isometric EMS training over 4 wk. Surface electromyographic (EMG) activity and torque obtained under maximal voluntary and electrically evoked contractions were analyzed to distinguish neural adaptations from contractile changes. After training, plantar flexor voluntary torque significantly increased under isometric conditions at the training angle (+8.1%, P< 0.05) and at the two eccentric velocities considered (+10.8 and +13.1%, P < 0.05). Torque gains were accompanied by higher normalized soleus EMG activity and, in the case of eccentric contractions, also by higher gastrocnemii EMG (P < 0.05). There was an 11.9% significant increase in both plantar flexor maximal voluntary activation (P < 0.01) and postactivation potentiation (P < 0.05), whereas contractile properties did not change after training. In the absence of a change in the control group, it was concluded that an increase in neural activation likely mediates the voluntary torque gains observed after short-term EMS training.
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Activation of human plantar flexor muscles increases after electromyostimulation training
Nicola A. Maffiuletti, Manuela Pensini, Alain Martin
Journal of Applied Physiology Published 1 April 2002 Vol. 92 no. 4, 1383-1392 DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00884.2001