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Effects of knee joint angles and fatigue on the neuromuscular control of vastus medialis oblique and vastus lateralis muscle in humans.

  • Chan, A Y
  • Lee, F L
  • Wong, P K
  • Wong, C Y
  • Yeung, S S
Published Article
European journal of applied physiology
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2001
PMID: 11394251


The effects of different knee joint angles and fatigue on the neuromuscular control of the vastus medialis oblique (VMO) and vastus lateralis (VL) muscles were investigated in 17 (11 men, 6 women) young subjects. The electromyogram (EMG) activities and the force generation capacities were monitored before and after a fatigue protocol at three different knee joint angles, 90 degrees, 150 degrees, 175 degrees of knee extension, on three occasions. In response to randomly triggered light signals, the subjects performed three isometric maximal voluntary contraction (IMVC) that lasted for 4 to 8 s. This was then followed by the fatigue protocol which consisted of six bursts of contractions fixed at 30 s on and 10 s off. Immediately after the exercise to fatigue, the subjects performed another three IMVC in response to the light signals. Repeated measures ANOVA were performed to examine the effects of fatigue at these three positions on the electromechanical delay (EMD), median frequency (fmed), peak force (Fpeak) and root mean square (rms)-EMG:Fpeak quotient of VMO and VL. The results revealed a significant effect of the three knee joint angles on the EMD before the fatigue (P < 0.05). The fatigue protocol induced a significant decrease in Fpeak at all the three positions (P < 0.01). However, the fatigue induced a significant decrease of fmed at only 90 degrees and 150 degrees of knee extension (P < 0.01). This occurred in parallel with the lengthening of EMD at these two joint angles (P < 0.01 and P < 0.05). The effects of fatigue on the fmed and EMD were not significant between VMO and VL at all three angles. The insignificant difference in fmed and EMD between VMO and VL at the three knee positions before and after fatigue indicated that no preferential onset activation between VMO and VL had occurred.

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