Effects of muscle fatigue and temperature on electromechanical delay

Electromyogr Clin Neurophysiol. 1998 Mar;38(2):67-73.


The effect of repeated maximal isometric knee extensions on electromechanical delay (EMD) and associated muscle temperature changes were investigated on seven college aged subjects. The exercise produced a significant reduction in muscle contraction force, rate of force development and muscle conduction velocity, whilst the muscle temperature increased by 2.1 degrees C. The EMD increased from a pre-exercise value of 38.4 (SEM 3.4) ms to 55.7 (SEM 3.4) ms post-exercise. In an attempt to evaluate the effect of muscle temperature on EMD, hot and ice-water bags were placed on the quadriceps muscle to alter muscle temperature. The EMD in isometric maximal knee extension was measured at 38, 36, 34, 32 and 30 degrees C. The results showed that the EMD elongated at muscle temperatures either lower or higher than 36 degrees C. It was speculated that the increased muscle temperature might contribute to 20-25% of the EMD elongation found during the fatiguing intermittent exercise. The information of the effects of muscle temperature on EMD could be useful when evaluating the effects of strenuous exercise, in which a substantial muscle temperature change might occur, on the time delay between myoelectrical activity and force generation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Temperature / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction / physiology
  • Knee
  • Male
  • Muscle Fatigue / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*