Long-term intensive electrically stimulated cycling by spinal cord-injured people: Effect on muscle properties and their relation to power output

  • Duffell L
  • Donaldson N
  • Perkins T
 et al. 
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Inactivity and muscular adaptations following spinal cord injury (SCI) result in secondary complications such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, and pressure sores. Functional electrically stimulated (FES) cycling can potentially reduce these complications, but previous studies have provided inconsistent results. We studied the effect of intensive long-term FES cycle training on muscle properties in 11 SCI subjects (mean ± SEM: 41.8 ± 2.3 years) who had trained for up to 1 hour/day, 5 days/week, for 1 year. Comparative measurements were made in 10 able-bodied (AB) subjects. Quadriceps maximal electrically stimulated torque increased fivefold (n = 5), but remained lower than in AB individuals. Relative force response at 1 HZ decreased, relaxation rate remained unchanged, and fatigue resistance improved significantly. Power output (PO) improved to a lesser extent than quadriceps torque and not to a greater extent than has been reported previously. We need to understand the factors that limit PO in order to maximize the benefits of FES cycling. Muscle Nerve 38: 1304–1311, 2008

Author-supplied keywords

  • FES cycling
  • Maximal torque
  • Power output
  • Skeletal muscle
  • Spinal cord injury

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