Mechanomyographic responses for the biceps brachii are associated with failure times during isometric force tasks

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© 2018 The Authors. Physiological Reports published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of The Physiological Society and the American Physiological Society In order to characterize the physiological adjustments within the neuromuscular system that contribute to task failure, this study examined the surface mechanomyographic (MMG) response during maximal and submaximal isometric force tasks of the elbow flexors sustained to failure. The time and frequency components of the MMG signal have shown to be influenced by motor unit activation patterns as well as tetanus. Therefore, it was hypothesized that the rate of change for the MMG response would associate with failure times and would be reduced to a similar degree between the two tasks. The isometric force tasks were performed by the dominant elbow flexors of twenty healthy males (age: 25 ± 4 years) and MMG was collected from the biceps brachii. Regression analyses were used to model the relationships between the rates of change for MMG versus failure times. There were high levels of interindividual variability in the response patterns, yet the models demonstrated significant negative associations between the rate of change for the MMG responses and failure times during both tasks (R2 = 0.41–0.72, P < 0.05). Similarly, the mean MMG amplitude and frequency values were reduced to comparable levels at the failure point of the two tasks. The results of this study demonstrated that force failure is associated with the rate of diminution in the properties of the muscle force twitch.