Muscle blood flow during isometric activity and its relation to muscle fatigue

Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1988;57(3):327-35. doi: 10.1007/BF00635992.


The effect of isometric exercise on blood flow, blood pressure, intramuscular pressure as well as lactate and potassium efflux from exercising muscle was examined. The contractions performed were continuous or intermittent (5 s on, 5 s off) and varied between 5% and 50% maximal voluntary contraction (MVC). A knee-extensor and a hand-grip protocol were used. Evidence is presented that blood flow through the muscle is sufficient during low-level sustained contractions (less than 10% MVC). Despite this muscle fatigue occurs during prolonged contractions. One mechanism for this fatigue may be the disturbance of the potassium homeostasis. Such changes may also play a role in the development of fatigue during intermittent isometric contractions and even more so in the recovery from such exercise. In addition the role of impaired transport of substances within the muscle, due to long-lasting daily oedema formation, is discussed in relation to fatigue in highly repetitive, monotonous jobs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure
  • Fatigue / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction*
  • Lactates / blood
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction*
  • Muscles / blood supply*
  • Muscles / metabolism
  • Muscles / physiology
  • Potassium / blood
  • Work


  • Lactates
  • Potassium