Are There Sex-Specific Neuromuscular or Force Responses to Fatiguing Isometric Muscle Actions Anchored to a High Perceptual Intensity?J Strength Cond Res. 2019 Dec 19 [Online ahead of print]JS
Keller, JL, Housh, TJ, Hill, EC, Smith, CM, Schmidt, RJ, and Johnson, GO. Are there sex-specific neuromuscular or force responses to fatiguing isometric muscle actions anchored to a high perceptual intensity? J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000-000, 2019-The purpose of this study was to use the ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) clamp model to examine sex-specific changes in neuromuscular responses and force after a sustained isometric leg extension muscle action anchored to RPE = 8. Twenty adults (10 men and 10 women) performed sustained, isometric leg extension muscle actions at RPE = 8. Electromyographic (EMG) and mechanomyographic signals were recorded from the dominant leg. Neuromuscular and force values resulting from the sustained muscle action were normalized to pretest maximal voluntary isometric contractions (MVICs). The level of significance set for the study was p ≤ 0.05. The pretest MVIC was significantly (p < 0.001) greater (averaged across sex) than posttest MVIC force (55.5 ± 10.0 vs. 47.6 ± 11.1 kg). There was a significant (p < 0.01) decrease from pretest (95.4 ± 7.7 Hz) to posttest (76.2 ± 5.9 Hz) in EMG mean power frequency (MPF) for the men. The normalized force (averaged across sex) decreased significantly (p < 0.001) from the initial timepoint (57.1 ± 16.4%) to the final timepoint (44.3 ± 15.7%) of the sustained muscle action. Normalized EMG MPF (averaged across sex) decreased significantly (p = 0.001) from the initial timepoint (96.4 ± 17.5%) to final timepoint (87.8 ± 18.1%). The men and women exhibited similar fatigue-induced changes in force and neuromuscular parameters; therefore, these findings did not indicate different sex-specific responses after the fatiguing task anchored to a high perception of exertion. The force corresponding to RPE = 8 did not match the anticipated value; so, RPE and percentages of MVIC cannot be used interchangeably, and sustained isometric muscle actions anchored to RPE may elicit unique neuromuscular adaptations.