Abstract Energy metabolism and contractility of rat’s femoral triceps muscles were investigated by varying blood flow levels with ligation of the femoral artery. The triceps were stimulated electrically to produce equivalent conditions as exercise loading, and phosphorus nuclear magnetic resonance ( 31P-NMR) spectra and muscle tension levels were monitored. The ratio of inorganic phosphate (Pi) to ‘Pi+phosphocreatine (PCr)’, i.e. Pi/(Pi+PCr), was obtained from 31P-NMR spectra. This ratio was related to the reduction of blood flow ratio (BFR) during and after the stimulation period, whereas before starting the stimulation, there was no significant correlation. These findings indicate: (i) muscle energy metabolism during decreased blood flow is influenced by the stimulation (loading) given to the muscle; and (ii) changes of muscle energy metabolism due to decreased muscle blood flow during the loading is evaluable by measuring 31P-NMR spectra. Muscle tension reached the plateau 8 min after starting the stimulation, regardless of BFR, but muscle tension ratio decreased as BFR became lower. This indicates that decreased blood flow diminishes muscle contractility, and then lowers muscle function levels. Our findings indicate that muscle blood flow plays an important role in muscle function, and blood flow and muscle function levels are evaluable by measuring 31P-NMR spectra of the muscle.