Impaired neuromuscular function during isometric, shortening, and lengthening contractions after exercise-induced damage to elbow flexor muscles

Tanya S. Turner, Kylie J. Tucker, Nigel C. Rogasch, John G. Semmler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of exercise-induced damage of the elbow flexor muscles on steady motor performance during isometric, shortening, and lengthening contractions. Ten healthy individuals (age 22 ± 4 yr) performed four tasks with the elbow flexor muscles: a maximum voluntary contraction, a one repetition maximum (1 RM), an isometric task at three joint angles (short, intermediate, and long muscle lengths), and a constant-load task during slow (∼7° /s) shortening and lengthening contractions. Task performance was quantified as the fluctuations in wrist acceleration (steadiness), and electromyography was obtained from the biceps and triceps brachii muscles at loads of 10, 20, and 40% of 1 RM. Tasks were performed before, immediately after, and 24 h after eccentric exercise that resulted in indicators of muscle damage. Maximum voluntary contraction force and 1-RM load declined by ∼45% immediately after exercise and remained lower at 24 h (∼30% decrease). Eccentric exercise resulted in reduced steadiness and increased biceps and triceps brachii electromyography for all tasks. For the isometric task, steadiness was impaired at the short compared with the long muscle length immediately after exercise (P < 0.01). Furthermore, despite no differences before exercise, there was reduced steadiness for the shortening compared with the lengthening contractions after exercise (P = 0.01), and steadiness remained impaired for shortening contractions 24 h later (P = 0.01). These findings suggest that there are profound effects for the performance of these types of fine motor tasks when recovering from a bout of eccentric exercise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)502-509
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Aug 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Acceleration
  • Elbow flexion
  • Electromyogram
  • Motor function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

Cite this