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Attenuation of Muscle Deoxygenation Precedes EMG Threshold in Normoxia and Hypoxia


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: August 2011 - Volume 43 - Issue 8 - p 1406-1413
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182100261
Basic Sciences

Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between the attenuation point of muscle deoxygenation (APMD) and the EMG threshold (EMGT) during incremental cycling exercise under different fractions of inspired O2 (FIO2).

Methods: Nine male subjects performed ramp cycling exercise tests (20 W·min−1) to exhaustion under normoxic and hypoxic conditions (FIO2 = 0.12). Pulmonary O2 uptake (V˙O2), muscle deoxygenation, and EMG activity in the vastus lateralis muscle were simultaneously measured during the tests, and both APMD and EMGT were calculated.

Results: Hypoxia significantly reduced peak V˙O2 (V˙O2peak). At the same absolute exercise intensity and at V˙O2peak, muscle deoxygenation, but not EMG activity, was significantly greater in hypoxia. V˙O2 at APMD was significantly decreased in hypoxia (P < 0.01). Similarly, V˙O2 at EMGT was significantly lower in hypoxia than in normoxia (P < 0.01). In addition, V˙O2 was lower at APMD than at EMGT under both conditions (P < 0.01). However, the relationships between APMD and EMGT were significant under both normoxic (r = 0.95, P < 0.01) and hypoxic (r = 0.89, P < 0.01) conditions.

Conclusions: These results suggest that the attenuation of muscle deoxygenation near V˙O2peak is related to and precedes changes in neuromuscular activity under normoxic and hypoxic conditions.

1Department of Sports Medicine for Health Promotion, Tokyo Medical University, Tokyo, JAPAN; 2Faculty of Sport and Health Science, Ritsumeikan University, Shiga, JAPAN; and 3Research Center for Training Science and Applied Physiology, National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Kanoya, Kagoshima, JAPAN

Address for correspondence: Masayoshi Yamamoto, Ph.D., Research Center for Training Science and Applied Physiology, National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Kanoya, 1 Shiromizu Kanoya Kagoshima, Japan 891-2393; E-mail:

Submitted for publication August 2010.

Accepted for publication January 2011.

©2011The American College of Sports Medicine