Physiological adaptations following vigorous exercise and moderate exercise with superimposed electrical stimulation

Kohei Watanabe*, Akane Yoshimura, Hiroya Nojima, Tetsuya Hirono, Shun Kunugi, Tatsuya Takada, Shuhei Kawade, Toshio Moritani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) induces involuntary muscle contraction, preferentially promotes anaerobic metabolism, and is applicable for increasing exercise intensity. This study aimed to assess whether superimposing NMES onto moderate-intensity voluntary exercise imitates physiological adaptations that occur in response to vigorous voluntary exercise. Methods: Eight participants trained with a cycling ergometer at 100% of the ventilatory threshold (VT) (73.3% of peak oxygen consumption) (VOL), and another nine participants trained with the cycling ergometer at 75% of VT (56.2% of peak oxygen consumption) with subtetanic NMES applied to the gluteus and thigh muscles (VOLES), matched to VOL training sessions, for nine weeks. Results: Rating of perceived exertion (RPE) in VOLES (12.00 ± 1.50) was significantly lower than in VOL (14.88 ± 1.81) (p < 0.05) during training sessions. Peak power output during the exercise tolerance test was increased in VOL and VOLES following interventions. Oxygen consumption and heart rate (HR) at VT and blood lactate concentration (BLC) at < VT were decreased from before (PRE) to after (POST) training interventions for both VOL and VOLES. There were no significant differences in absolute changes from PRE to POST for peak power output and oxygen consumption, HR, and BLC at a submaximal intensity between VOL and VOLES. Conclusion: Our results suggest that both superimposing subtetanic NMES onto moderate-intensity voluntary exercise and vigorous voluntary intensity exercise induce the improvement in cardiovascular and metabolic systems, but the adaptation of former method is provided without perceived strenuous exertion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-168
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Jan


  • Blood lactate concentration
  • Electrical muscle stimulation
  • Electrical myostimulation
  • Energy metabolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physiology (medical)


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