Are humans able to voluntarily elicit maximum muscle force?
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Previous investigators have used electrical stimulation superimposed on voluntary efforts to show that humans are capable of maximum muscle activation. In the present study this notion was tested using the interpolated twitch technique enhanced by triggered averaging and doublet stimulation of the human biceps brachii. It was found that the decline in extra torque evoked by percutaneous stimulation with increasing levels of voluntary effort was nonlinear and that none of the twelve subjects was able to elicit a voluntary effort large enough to prevent extra torque of elbow flexion. The exponential nature of the declining extra torque indicated that an extrapolated maximum muscle force could be considerably larger than that to which subjects were able to elicit voluntarily.
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