Influence of gender on muscle fatigue during dynamic knee contractions.

The purpose was to compare quadriceps muscle fatigue and change in surface electromyogram (sEMG) spectral power, muscle thickness, and peak torque (normalized by body weight) in men and women during isokinetic knee contractions. Nineteen healthy volunteers (10 men, 9 women) participated. The volunteers performed 32 consecutive maximal isokinetic knee contractions for peak torque and muscle fatigue index (FI). The sEMG data were analyzed using wavelet analysis for median frequency (MF). Muscle thickness was measured using ultrasonography.

Men had a significantly higher FI, peak torque (Nm/kg), muscle thickness than women (p<0.05). A significant linear decreased MF slope in the vastus lateralis was observed (p<0.05) in men than in women. There was no significant difference in MF slope in the vastus medialis between men and women.

During muscle fatigue assessment, men had a significantly greater muscle thickness, knee extension peak torque, and a higher decrease of MF slope than women. Our results indicate that specific muscle fatigue observed during repeated muscle knee contractions is significantly influence by gender and affects MF slope, knee extension peak torque, and muscle thickness.