Prolonged vibration of the biceps brachii tendon reduces time to failure when maintaining arm position with a submaximal load.J Neurophysiol. 2006 Feb; 95(2):1185-93.JN
Vibration reduces the amplitudes of the tendon jerk response and the Hoffmann and stretch reflexes in the muscle exposed to the vibration, yet does not alter the time to task failure when the task involves exerting a submaximal force against a rigid restraint. Because the amplitude of the stretch reflex is greater when a limb acts against a compliant load than a rigid restraint, the purpose was to determine the influence of prolonged tendon vibration on the time to failure when maintaining limb position with the elbow flexor muscles. Twenty-five healthy men performed the fatiguing contraction by maintaining elbow angle at 1.57 rad until failure while supporting a load equal to 20% of maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) force. The fatiguing contraction was performed on 3 separate days with different levels of vibration applied to the biceps brachii tendon: no vibration, subthreshold for a tonic vibration reflex (TVR), and suprathreshold for a TVR. MVC force before the fatiguing contraction was similar across the three sessions (mean of 3 sessions: 313 +/- 54 N, P = 0.83). Despite a similar decline in MVC force after the fatiguing contraction across conditions (-18.0 +/- 8.0%, P > 0.05), the time to task failure was 3.7 +/- 1.4 min for the suprathreshold TVR condition, 4.3 +/- 2.1 min for the subthreshold TVR condition, and 5.0 +/- 2.2 min for the no-vibration condition (P < 0 0.001). The average EMG of the elbow flexor muscles was similar (P = 0.22) during the fatiguing contractions. However, the fluctuations in limb acceleration at task onset were greater for the suprathreshold TVR condition (P < 0.01), but were not different between the subthreshold TVR and no-vibration conditions (P > or = 0.22). Furthermore, the difference in the SD of limb acceleration between the no-vibration and vibration conditions was correlated with the difference in time to failure for the no-vibration and subthreshold TVR conditions (P = 0.03; r2 = 0.22), but not for the no-vibration and suprathreshold TVR conditions (P = 0.90; r2 = 0.001). These findings indicate that prolonged vibration reduced the time to failure of a sustained contraction when subjects maintained limb position, suggesting that peripheral inputs to the motor neuron pool play a significant role in sustaining a contraction during tasks that require active control of limb position.