The jaw-closing muscles differ from peripheral limb muscles in that the maximum attainable force does not decline following a sustained isometric contraction. Also, the averaged electromyographic (EMG)/force ratio in these muscles does not change with sustained contraction, whereas it increases in fatiguing limb muscles. The present study analysed EMG records from masseters in healthy male subjects. No statistically significant difference was seen between average rectified EMG signals at the beginning or the end of a sustained isometric contraction at 25-100% of maximum voluntary contraction (MVC). However, when the number of turns, or reversals of direction, was taken at various percentage MVC levels, a significant decrease was seen after 60s or at the end of the contraction. The turns/force ratio decreased monotonically with percentage MVC, but the ratio was not significantly different at the end of a contraction from that at the beginning. This result confirms an earlier suggestion that neuromuscular fatigue does not accompany sustained contractions of these muscles. © 1993.
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