Quadriceps femoris muscle torque was measured in 40 subjects during transcutaneous neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES). Three different electrode types (carbonized rubber, sponge, and adhesive) were used on each subject, permitting determination of the factors that influenced the magnitude of quadriceps femoris muscle torque induced by NMES. This goal was accomplished by entering the various factors into a multiple-regression model. The electrodes differed significantly in their characteristics. The carbonized-rubber electrode delivered the greatest current with the lowest impedance, resulting in the highest knee extension torque. We found that the most important factor in determining torque generation level was the quadriceps femoris muscle's intrinsic ability to be activated (as opposed to electrode size, current, current density, or skin impedance). These data suggest that NMES efficacy is primarily determined by the intrinsic tissue properties of the individual (defined in this study as 'efficiency') and is not dramatically changeable by using high stimulation currents or large electrode sizes. The precise physiological basis for interindividual differences in efficiency is not known.
- Muscle performance
- electrical stimulation
- lower extremity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation