Intramuscular pressure, EMG and blood flow during low-level prolonged static contraction in man

Acta Physiol Scand. 1986 Nov;128(3):475-84. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-1716.1986.tb08002.x.


Seven men performed one-legged isometric knee-extension at 5% MVC for 1 h. Intramuscular pressure increased with contraction from its resting value of 14 (2-31) mmHg. Some intramuscular pressure recordings stayed at an almost constant level through the 1 h contraction, but most recordings showed large fluctuations from resting values up to 90 mmHg. The overall mean intramuscular pressure was twice the resting value. In some cases, EMG recordings confirmed that the changes in intramuscular pressure were related to alternating recruitment of various parts of the knee-extensors. Blood flow in the femoral vein increased within 3 min of 5% MVC to a level of 1.58 (1.25-2.22) 1 min-1 and no significant changes occurred during the 1 h contraction. In two subjects blood flow was measured also in the recovery period, and this decreased almost immediately when the muscle relaxed. It is concluded that during low-level static contractions, the blood supply to the exercising muscle is maintained at a sufficiently high level, and that the alternating recruitment of muscle fibres may result in a heterogeneously distributed blood flow within the contracting muscle. Despite this the muscle was fatigued after the 1 h at 5% MVC. The rating of perceived exertion (RPE) increased from 1.9 (1-3) at the beginning to 4.5 (2-8) at the end of contraction, and MVC was decreased by 12% after the contraction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electromyography
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction*
  • Knee / physiology
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction*
  • Muscles / blood supply
  • Muscles / physiology*
  • Pressure
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Time Factors