Load-Specific Performance Fatigability, Coactivation, and Neuromuscular Responses to Fatiguing Forearm Flexion Muscle Actions in Women

Brian Benitez, Taylor K. Dinyer-Mcneely, Lindsay McCallum, Minyoung Kwak, Pasquale J. Succi, Haley C. Bergstrom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined the effects of fatiguing, bilateral, dynamic constant external resistance (DCER) forearm flexion on performance fatigability, coactivation, and neuromuscular responses of the biceps brachii (BB) and triceps brachii (TB) at high (80% 1 repetition maximum [1RM]) and low (30% 1RM) relative loads in women. Ten women completed 1RM testing and repetitions to failure (RTF) at 30 and 80% 1RM. Maximal voluntary isometric force was measured before and after RTF. Electromyographic (EMG) and mechanomyographic (MMG) amplitude (AMP) and mean power frequency (MPF) signals were measured from the BB and TB. Performance fatigability was greater (p < 0.05) after RTF at 30% (%Δ = 41.56 ± 18.61%) than 80% (%Δ = 19.65 ± 8.47%) 1RM. There was an increase in the coactivation ratio (less coactivation) between the initial and final repetitions at 30%, which may reflect greater increases in agonist muscle excitation (EMG AMP) relative to the antagonist for RTF at 30% than 80% 1RM. The initial repetitions EMG AMP was greater for 80% than 30% 1RM, but there was no difference between loads for the final repetitions. For both loads, there were increases in EMG MPF and MMG AMP and decreases in MMG MPF that may suggest fatigue-dependent recruitment of higher-threshold motor units. Thus, RTF at 30 and 80% 1RM during DCER forearm flexion may not necessitate additional muscle excitation to the antagonist muscle despite greater fatigability after RTF at 30% 1RM. These specific acute performance and neuromuscular responses may provide insight into the unique mechanism underlying adaptations to training performed at varying relative loads.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)769-779
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 NSCA National Strength and Conditioning Association. All rights reserved.


  • electromyography
  • female
  • mechanomyography
  • performance fatigability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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