The relationships among endurance performance measures as estimated from VO2PEAK, ventilatory threshold, and electromyographic fatigue threshold: A relationship design

Jennifer L. Graef, Abbie E. Smith, Kristina L. Kendall, Ashley A. Walter, Jordan R. Moon, Christopher M. Lockwood, Travis W. Beck, Joel T. Cramer, Jeffrey R. Stout

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


Background. The use of surface electromyography has been accepted as a valid, non-invasive measure of neuromuscular fatigue. In particular, the electromyographic fatigue threshold test (EMGFT) is a reliable submaximal tool to identify the onset of fatigue. This study examined the metabolic relationship between VO2PEAK, ventilatory threshold (VT), and the EMGFT, as well as compared the power output at VO 2PEAK, VT, and EMGFT. Methods. Thirty-eight college-aged males (mean ± SD = 22.5 ± 3.5 yrs) performed an incremental test to exhaustion on an electronically-braked cycle ergometer for the determination of VO2PEAKand VT. Each subject also performed a discontinuous incremental cycle ergometer test to determine their EMGFT value, determined from bipolar surface electrodes placed on the longitudinal axis of the vastus lateralis of the right thigh. Subjects completed a total of four, 2-minute work bouts (ranging from 75-325 W). Adequate rest was given between bouts to allow for subjects' heart rate to drop within 10 beats of their resting heart rate. The EMG amplitude was averaged over 10-second intervals and plotted over the 2-minute work bout. The resulting slopes from each successive work bout were used to calculate EMGFT. Results. Power outputs and VO 2 values from each subject's incremental test to exhaustion were regressed. The linear equations were used to compute the VO2 value that corresponded to each fatigue threshold. Two separate one-way repeated measure ANOVAs indicated significant differences (p < 0.05) among metabolic parameters and power outputs. However, the mean metabolic values for VT (1.90 ± 0.50 l·min-1) and EMGFTVO2(1.84 ± 0.53 l·min-1) were not significantly different (p > 0.05) and were highly correlated (r = 0.750). Furthermore, the mean workload at VT was 130.7 ± 37.8 W compared with 134.1 ± 43.5 W at EMGFT (p > 0.05) with a strong correlation between the two variables (r = 0.766). Conclusion. Metabolic measurements, as well as the power outputs at VT and EMGFT, were strongly correlated. The significant relationship between VT and EMGFT suggests that both procedures may reflect similar physiological factors associated with the onset of fatigue. As a result of these findings, the EMGFT test may provide an attractive alternative to estimating VT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number15
JournalDynamic Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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