Chronic hypobaric hypoxia does not affect electro-mechanical muscle activities during sustained maximal isometric contractions

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2003 Oct;90(3-4):337-43. doi: 10.1007/s00421-003-0922-3. Epub 2003 Aug 22.


The aim of the study was to evaluate the influence of chronic hypobaric hypoxia [43 days at 5050 m above sea level, a.s.l.] on the electrical and mechanical activities of the elbow flexor and knee extensor muscles during sustained maximal isometric contractions. Seven subjects participated in this study. The maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) of the two muscle groups was assessed. The subjects were then asked to perform a sustained MVC for 1 min, during which surface EMG and MMG signals were recorded before (SL) and after 43 days at high altitude (HA). From the time and frequency domain analysis of the surface EMG and MMG, the root mean square (RMS) and the mean frequency (MF) were then calculated. After HA exposure, in both the investigated muscle groups the results showed that: (1) the MVC did not change; (2) the maximum force decay during the sustained MVC was similar; (3) surface EMG and MMG parameters did not show any statistical difference. These data suggest that exposure to HA did not affect the electrical and mechanical properties of the two investigated muscle groups. We conclude that exposure to chronic hypobaric hypoxia seems to have no effect on the central motor drive or on muscle performance during sustained maximal isometric contractions of the active muscles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization / physiology
  • Adult
  • Altitude*
  • Arm / physiology
  • Atmospheric Pressure
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / physiopathology*
  • Isometric Contraction / physiology*
  • Leg / physiology
  • Muscle Fatigue / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Myography
  • Time Factors