Electrical stimulation of quadriceps femoris in an elite weight lifter: a single subject experiment

Int J Sports Med. 1989 Jun;10(3):187-91. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-1024898.


The response to treatment of high intensity neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) to both quadriceps femoris muscles as an adjunct to ongoing weight training was evaluated using a single subject experimental design. For an elite weight lifter weekly maximal measurements of snatch (S), clean and jerk (CJ), and front squat (SQ) were obtained over 4 months during which the subject weight trained daily for 3 h. The 1st month, baseline data were collected. After baseline measurements, a 1-month period of high-intensity NMES was added to the subject's weight training. NMES was then withdrawn for 1 month and administered once more for 2 weeks. Three quadriceps femoris muscle biopsies were taken, two during the initial baseline period and one just before the end of the first stimulation period. The results showed a significant and clear relationship between performance gains and NMES administration and withdrawal. Steep gains for S, CJ, and SQ were seen after 2 weeks of stimulation, with front squat showing a 20-kg increase within the 1st week of both stimulation periods. Muscle biopsy showed an increased type I fiber area, decreased type IIa and IIb fiber area, and an increase of type II fibers after NMES. The results of this study support the use of high-dose NMES as an adjunct to weight training in elite lifters.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscles / physiology*
  • Physical Education and Training
  • Sports*
  • Thigh / physiology*
  • Weight Lifting*