Using submaximal contractions to predict the maximum force-generating ability of muscles

Sarah Flynn, Brian A. Knarr, Ramu Perumal, Trisha M. Kesar, Stuart A. Binder-Macleod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Introduction: Muscle weakness can be caused by decreases in either the maximum force-generating ability of a muscle (MFGA) or neural drive from the nervous system (e.g., after a stroke). Presently, there is no agreed-upon practical method for calculating the MFGA in individuals with central nervous system pathology. The purpose of this study was to identify the best method for determining MFGA. Methods: The predicted and estimated MFGA of the muscles of 23 non-neurologically impaired subjects (13 males, 21.9 ± 1.9 years) were compared using the burst superimposition, twitch interpolation, doublet interpolation, twitch-to-tetanus ratio, and the adjusted burst superimposition methods. Results: The adjusted burst superimposition test was the most accurate predictor of MFGA. Conclusions: Further testing is needed to validate the use of the adjusted burst superimposition test in a neurologically impaired population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)849-858
Number of pages10
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Burst superimposition
  • Doublet interpolation
  • Maximum force-generating ability
  • Twitch

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Physiology (medical)


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