Int J Sports Med 1989; 10(3): 187-191
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-1024898
© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Electrical Stimulation of Quadriceps Femoris in an Elite Weight Lifter: A Single Subject Experiment

A. Delitto, M. Brown, M. J. Strube, S. J. Rose, R. C. Lehman
  • Washington University School of Medicine, Program in Physical Therapy
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Publication History

Publication Date:
14 March 2008 (online)


The response to treatment of high intensity neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) to both quadriceps femoris muscles as an adjunct to ongoing weight training was evaluated using a single subject experimental design. For an elite weight lifter weekly maximal measurements of snatch (S), clean and jerk (CJ), and front squat (SQ) were obtained over 4 months during which the subject weight trained daily for 3 h. The 1st month, baseline data were collected. After baseline measurements, a 1-month period of high-intensity NMES was added to the subject's weight training. NMES was then withdrawn for 1 month and administered once more for 2 weeks. Three quadriceps femoris muscle biopsies were taken, two during the initial baseline period and one just before the end of the first stimulation period. The results showed a significant and clear relationship between performance gains and NMES administration and withdrawal. Steep gains for S, CJ, and SQ were seen after 2 weeks of stimulation, with front squat showing a 20-kg increase within the 1st week of both stimulation periods. Muscle biopsy showed an increased type I fiber area, decreased type Ha and lib fiber area, and an increase of type II fibers after NMES. The results of this study support the use of high-dose NMES as an adjunct to weight training in elite lifters.