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Comparison of Resistance Exercise Perceived Exertion and Muscle Activation at Varied Submaximal Durations, Loads, and Muscle Actions

Hollander, Daniel B.1; Worley, Jennifer R.1; Asoodeh, Mike2; Wakesa, David2; Magnuson, Matthew2; Dantzler, Demetra K.1; Didier, Jennifer J.3; Kraemer, Robert R.1

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: May 2017 - Volume 31 - Issue 5 - p 1387–1394
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001290
Research Note

Abstract: Hollander, DB, Worley, JR, Asoodeh, M, Wakesa, D, Magnuson, M, Dantzler, DK, Didier, JJ, and Kraemer, RR. Comparison of resistance exercise perceived exertion and muscle activation at varied submaximal durations, loads, and muscle actions. J Strength Cond Res 31(5): 1387–1394, 2017—Previous studies investigating muscle activation from dynamic, plate-loaded, concentric (CON) and eccentric (ECC) muscle contractions have not accounted for the greater absolute strength of ECC contractions. The purpose of the study was to determine the effect of different dynamic muscle contraction durations, loads, and contraction types (CON and ECC) on perceived exertion and muscle activation differences in 6 women (mean ± SD age, height, weight, body mass index 22.83 ± 2.56 years, 1.65 ± 0.261 m, 68.56 ± 2.72 kg, 25.26 ± 4.39 kg·m−2). The participants were recruited and trained to move weight at the appropriate duration (2, 3, 4, and 5 seconds) for leg extension using a displacement apparatus (sonic emitter, auditory) and a computer program (visual feedback of bar displacement). Concentric and ECC 1 repetition maximum (1RM) were determined for leg extension for the midrange 3-second duration. Thirty, 50, and 70% of either CON or ECC 1RM were loaded for the remainder of the sessions. Subjects were then assigned to complete trials in a counterbalanced fashion for load, contraction type, and contraction duration. Rating of perceived exertion (RPE) significantly increased in response to load (30, 50, and 70%) regardless of contraction type as did electromyography (EMG) root mean square amplitude. Greater time under tension significantly increased RPE regardless of contraction type during knee extension exercise. The EMG amplitude was less distinguishable between 2, 3, 4, and 5 seconds of contractions. The data highlight the effort sense distinctions made by women at submaximal exercise loads during knee extension. These findings should be used to develop effective resistance exercise protocols that facilitate positive perceptions and adherence resistance exercise loads, durations of contraction, and contraction type.

1Department of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, Louisiana;

2Department of Computer Science and Industrial Technology, Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, Louisiana; and

3Department of Health and Kinesiology, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas

Address correspondence to Dr. Daniel B. Hollander,

Copyright © 2017 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.