A dynamical model of muscle activation, fatigue, and recovery.

A dynamical model of muscle activation, fatigue, and recovery.
Jing Z Liu, Robert W Brown, and Guang H Yue
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio 44195, USA. liuj@bme.ri.ccf.org
A dynamical model is presented as a framework for muscle activation, fatigue, and recovery. By describing the effects of muscle fatigue and recovery in terms of two phenomenological parameters (F, R), we develop a set of dynamical equations to describe the behavior of muscles as a group of motor units activated by voluntary effort. This model provides a macroscopic view for understanding biophysical mechanisms of voluntary drive, fatigue effect, and recovery in stimulating, limiting, and modulating the force output from muscles. The model is investigated under the condition in which brain effort is assumed to be constant. Experimental validation of the model is performed by fitting force data measured from healthy human subjects during a 3-min sustained maximal voluntary handgrip contraction. The experimental results confirm a theoretical inference from the model regarding the possibility of maximal muscle force production, and suggest that only 97% of the true maximal force can be reached under maximal voluntary effort, assuming that all motor units can be recruited voluntarily. The effects of different motor unit types, time-dependent brain effort, sources of artifacts, and other factors that could affect the model are discussed. The applications of the model are also discussed.

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