Myoelectric, Myo-Oxygenation, and Myotonometry Changes during Robot-Assisted Bilateral Arm Exercises with Varying Resistances


Robot-assisted bilateral arm training has demonstrated its effectiveness in improving motor function in individuals post-stroke, showing significant enhancements with increased repetitions. However, prolonged training sessions may lead to both mental and muscle fatigue. We conducted two types of robot-assisted bimanual wrist exercises on 16 healthy adults, separated by one week: long-duration, low-resistance workouts and short-duration, high-resistance exercises. Various measures, including surface electromyograms, near-infrared spectroscopy, heart rate, and the Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion scale, were employed to assess fatigue levels and the impacts of exercise intensity. High-resistance exercise resulted in a more pronounced decline in electromyogram median frequency and recruited a greater amount of hemoglobin, indicating increased muscle fatigue and a higher metabolic demand to cope with the intensified workload. Additionally, high-resistance exercise led to increased sympathetic activation and a greater sense of exertion. Conversely, engaging in low-resistance exercises proved beneficial for reducing post-exercise muscle stiffness and enhancing muscle elasticity. Choosing a low-resistance setting for robot-assisted wrist movements offers advantages by alleviating mental and physiological loads. The reduced training intensity can be further optimized by enabling extended exercise periods while maintaining an approximate dosage compared to high-resistance exercises.