Contrast of directional influence upon motor overflow between submaximal and maximal static exertions

Ing Shiou Hwang, Chih Feng Lin, Yi Ching Chen, Chiung Yu Cho, Chun Hou Wang

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5 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated exertion-dependent motor overflow among healthy adults when they performed isometric tasks with contralateral joints in different task directions. Twenty healthy adults (10 males and 10 females, mean age = 26.2 yrs) were instructed to complete a set of isometric contractions of various force vectors with the shoulder, elbow, and wrist joints, in a total of ten motor tasks at submaximal and maximal intensities (50%, 100% maximal voluntary contractions). The electromyographical activities from eight muscles of the unexercised upper limb were recorded to characterize intensity of motor overflow during sustained isometric contraction. Both occurrence frequency and magnitude of motor overflow in terms of standardized net excitation (SNE) increased with exertion level for all joint movements (P < 0.001). Additionally, the motor overflow magnitude depended strongly on the task direction of maximal isometric contraction (P < 0.05). Motor overflow was particularly augmented by the contralateral isometric contractions where task directions were opposed to gravity. However, such a directional effect upon SNE was not evident during submaximal contraction (P > 0.05). The difference of the net excitation between maximal and submaximal contraction (DNE 100%-50%MVC data) indicated that the pectoralis major and triceps brachii consistently exhibited a marked recruitment in reaction to change in task direction of isometric contraction. Patterned motor overflow may be physiologically relevant to topological mapping of the ipsilateral pathways and altered effectiveness of use-dependent interhemispherical connectivity. The current observations provide better insight into gain in muscle strength due to contralateral exercise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-30
Number of pages9
JournalChinese Journal of Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Jan 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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