Evidence of inability to fully activate human limb muscle

Muscle Nerve. 2000 Mar;23(3):376-84. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-4598(200003)23:3<376::aid-mus9>3.0.co;2-2.


The purpose of this study was to determine whether muscle activation level estimated by twitch interpolation technique was different when an electrical stimulus was applied during a dynamic force (DF; force rising) task from that when the stimulus was applied during a static force (SF; constant force) task. Fourteen subjects performed voluntary SF and DF contractions involving isometric elbow flexion at seven voluntary force levels. At each level, the electrical stimulation was applied to the surface of the biceps brachii muscle when the force was steady (SF task) and when the force was rising (DF task). The voluntary activation level of the biceps brachii muscle during the SF maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) was 98.5% and that during the DF MVC task was significantly lower (94.5%; P < 0.05). The motoneurons and/or muscle fibers may become more excitable during the DF task so that the same stimulus can recruit those that are otherwise less excitable during the SF task.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Elbow Joint / physiology*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Evoked Potentials, Motor / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Movement / physiology
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / innervation*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Volition / physiology