Purpose: PEMF stimulation results in a higher O2 muscle supply during exercise through increased O2 release and uptake. Given the importance of oxygen uptake in sport activity, especially in aerobic disciplines such as cycling, we sought to investigate the influence of PEMF on muscle activity when subjects cycled at an intensity between low and severe.
Methods: Twenty semi-professional cyclists performed a constant-load exercise with randomized active (ON) or inactive (OFF) PEMF stimulation. Each subject started the recording session with 1 min of cycling without load (warm-up), followed by an instantaneous increase in power, as the individualized workload (constant-load physical effort). PEMF loops were applied on the vastus medialis and biceps femoris of the right leg. We recorded the electromyographic activity from each muscle and measured blood lactate prior the exercise and during the constant-load physical effort.
Results: PEMF stimulation caused a significant increase in muscle activity in the warm-up condition when subjects cycled without load (p < 0.001). The blood lactate concentration was higher during PEMF stimulation (p < 0.001), a possible consequence of PEMF's influence on glycolytic metabolism.
Conclusion: PEMF stimulation augmented the activity and the metabolism of muscular fibers during the execution of physical exercise. PEMF stimulation could be used to raise the amplitude of muscular responses to physical activity, especially during low-intensity exercise.
Keywords: PEMF; cyclist; electromyography; lactic acid; performance; physical exercise.