PURPOSE: This study examined the issue of history-dependence on muscle excitation and oxygenation by using surface electromyography (EMG) and near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS).
METHODS: Eight male participants performed isometric knee extension force production tasks that started at four levels of initial force production (30, 40, 60, 70% of maximal voluntary contraction, MVC) and commonly converged to the production of 50% of MVC by increasing or decreasing knee extension forces. We quantified the integrated electromyogram (iEMG), total hemoglobin (tHb), and the desaturation rate of muscle tissue (TSISLOPE) of the vastus lateralis and compared the differences in the quantified variables between the experimental conditions.
RESULTS: For the four levels of initial forces production, all the variables showed significant linear relationships with outcome forces. However, the magnitudes of the variables were varied depending on the contraction history at the terminal phase where the identical level of force production (50% of MVC) was required. At the terminal phase, the iEMG was affected by the time history of both mode (e.g., increment or decrement) and magnitude (e.g., 10% or 20% change of MVC), while the tHb and TSISLOPE showed significant differences between the time history of mode only.
CONCLUSIONS: The main result of the current study demonstrates the history-dependence of the changes in physiological demands in muscle activation. In particular, the indices of muscle excitation and oxygenation at the same level of force were varied depending on the time history of contraction, which implies the indices of muscle excitation and oxygenation may not be invariant component to specify the levels of outcome forces.