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Effects of postural muscle fatigue on the relation between segmental posture and movement

The purpose of this study was to examine whether fatigue of postural muscles might influence the coordination between segmental posture and movement. Seven healthy adults performed series of fifteen fast wrist flexions and extensions while being instructed to keep a dominant upper limb posture as constant as possible. These series of voluntary movements were performed before and after a fatiguing submaximal isometric elbow flexion, and also with or without the help of an elbow support. Surface EMG from muscles Deltoı̈deus anterior, Biceps brachii, Triceps brachii, Flexor carpi ulnaris, Extensor carpi radialis were recorded simultaneously with wrist, elbow and shoulder accelerations and wrist and elbow displacements. Fatigue was evidenced by a shift of the elbow and shoulder muscles EMG spectra towards low frequencies. Kinematics of wrist movements and corresponding activations of wrist prime-movers, as well as the background of postural muscle activation before wrist movement were not modified. There were only slight changes in timing of postural muscle activations. These data indicate that postural fatigue induced by a low-level isometric contraction has no effect on voluntary movement and requires no dramatic adaptation in postural control.

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