Cramp Training Induces a Long-Lasting Increase of the Cramp Threshold Frequency in Healthy Subjects

Michael Behringer, Volker Spieth, Johannes Caspar Konrad Montag, Steffen Willwacher, Molly Leigh McCourt, Joachim Mester

Publication: Contribution to journalJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


OBJECTIVE: A low cramp threshold frequency (CTF) is associated with an increased cramp susceptibility. Recent data indicate that the CTF can be substantially increased by a cramp training consisting of electrically induced muscle cramps (EIMCs). This study investigated if four cramp training sessions induce sustained effects on the CTF.

METHODS: In ten healthy male subjects, EIMCs were induced in the gastrocnemius medialis of one leg (intervention leg, IL) twice a week, while the opposite leg served as control leg (CL). The stimulation protocol consisted of three sets of six bipolar rectangular wave pulsed currents (5 sec on, 10 sec off) at 30 Hz above the individual CTF.

RESULTS: After four cramp training sessions (2 weeks) the CTF differed (p < 0.001) from pre-values in the IL (pre: 19.2 ± 1.4 Hz post 29.8 ± 8.0 Hz) but not in the CL (pre: 18.2 ± 1.5 Hz post 19.6 ± 2.8 Hz; p > 0.05). Thereafter, the CTF remained elevated in the IL for 22 days (22 days post: 22.2 ± 3.2 Hz; p < 0.05) when compared to pre and was significantly (p < 0.05) higher than that of the CL 5, 10, and 14 days after the intervention.

CONCLUSION: The applied cramp training induced a long-term CTF increase of 14 days.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeuromodulation : journal of the International Neuromodulation Society
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 19.09.2016


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