Muscle oxygenation trends during dynamic exercise measured by near infrared spectroscopy

Can J Appl Physiol. 2004 Aug;29(4):504-23. doi: 10.1139/h04-033.


During the last decade, NIRS has been used extensively to evaluate the changes in muscle oxygenation and blood volume during a variety of exercise modes. The important findings from this research are as follows: (a) There is a strong correlation between the lactate (ventilatory) threshold during incremental cycle exercise and the exaggerated reduction in muscle oxygenation measured by NIRS. (b) The delay in steady-state oxygen uptake during constant work rate exercise at intensities above the lactate/ventilatory threshold is closely related to changes in muscle oxygenation measured by NIRS. (c) The degree of muscle deoxygenation at the same absolute oxygen uptake is significantly lower in older persons compared younger persons; however, these changes are negated when muscle oxygenation is expressed relative to maximal oxygen uptake values. (d) There is no significant difference between the rate of biceps brachii and vastus lateralis deoxygenation during arm cranking and leg cycling exercise, respectively, in males and females. (e) Muscle deoxygenation trends recorded during short duration, high-intensity exercise such as the Wingate test indicate that there is a substantial degree of aerobic metabolism during such exercise. Recent studies that have used NIRS at multiple sites, such as brain and muscle tissue, provide useful information pertaining to the regional changes in oxygen availability in these tissues during dynamic exercise.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Tolerance
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Oxygen Consumption*
  • Spectroscopy, Near-Infrared*