Unilateral isometric muscle fatigue decreases force production and activation of contralateral knee extensors but not elbow flexors.Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2014 Dec; 39(12):1338-44.AP
Nonlocal muscle fatigue occurs when fatiguing 1 muscle alters performance of another rested muscle. The purpose of the study was to investigate if fatiguing 2 separate muscles would affect the same rested muscle, and if fatiguing the same muscle would affect 2 separate muscles. Twenty-one trained males participated in 2 studies (n = 11; n = 10). Subjects performed 2 pre-test maximum voluntary contractions (MVCs) with the nondominant knee extensors. Thereafter they performed two 100-s MVCs with their dominant knee extensors, elbow flexors, or rested. Between and after the sets, a single MVC with the nondominant rested knee extensors was performed. Subsequently, 12 nondominant knee extensors repeated MVCs were completed. Force, quadriceps voluntary activation (VA), and electromyography (EMG) were measured. The same protocol was employed in study 2 except the nondominant elbow-flexors were tested. Study 1: Compared with control conditions, a significant decrease in nondominant knee extensors force, EMG, and VA was found under both fatiguing conditions (P ≤ 0.05; effect size (ES) = 0.91-1.15; 2%-8%). Additionally, decrements in all variables were found from the first post-intervention MVC to the last (P ≤ 0.05; ES = 0.82-2.40; 9%-20%). Study 2: No differences were found between conditions for all variables (P ≥ 0.33; ES ≤ 0.2; ≤3.0%). However, all variables decreased from the first post-intervention MVC to the last (P ≤ 0.05; ES = 0.4-3.0; 7.2%-19.7%). Whereas the rested knee extensors demonstrated nonlocal effects regardless of the muscle being fatigued, the elbow-flexors remained unaffected. This suggests that nonlocal effects are muscle specific, which may hold functional implications for training and performance.