Agonist contractions against electrically stimulated antagonists

Tojiro Yanagi, Naoto Shiba, Takashi Maeda, Kiyohiko Iwasa, Yuichi Umezu, Yoshihiko Tagawa, Shigeaki Matsuo, Kensei Nagata, Toshiyasu Yamamoto, Jeffrey R. Basford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess an exercise program that uses electrically stimulated antagonists to resist agonist muscle contractions. Design: In I limb, electrically stimulated antagonists resisted elbow flexion and extension. In the other, stimulation occurred without volitional muscle contraction. Setting: A biomechanics laboratory in Japan. Participants: Twelve men between the ages of 19 and 24 years. Subjects served as their own controls. Intervention: Subjects trained 3 times a week for 12 weeks. Each session consisted of 10 sets of 10 elbow flexor and extensor contractions. Main Outcome Measures: Isokinetic elbow extension and flexion torques. Biceps and triceps brachii cross-sectional areas. Results: Elbow extension torques increased (32.85% at 30°/s, 27.20% at 60°/s, 26.16% at 90°/s; all P≤.02) over the training period in limbs that trained against electrically stimulated antagonists. Control limb extension torque increases were smaller (8.52%-14.91%) and did not reach statistical significance. Elbow flexion torques improved in both groups, but the changes did not reach statistical significance. Cross-sectional areas increased in all muscles but were most marked in the antagonist stimulated limbs: triceps 16.20% versus 4.25% (P=.01) and biceps 16.65% versus 7.00% (P=.005). Conclusions: Exercises that use electrically stimulated antagonist muscles may be effective in increasing muscle strength and mass.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)843-848
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2003


  • Electric stimulation
  • Exercise
  • Muscles
  • Rehabilitation
  • Torque

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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