Cuff width does not affect discomfort ratings immediately following isometric handgrip exercise

Robert W. Spitz, Jun Seob Song, Yujiro Yamada, Vickie Wong, Zachary W. Bell, Ryo Kataoka, Jeremy P. Loenneke

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Previous work has found that wide cuffs produce greater discomfort with elbow flexion exercise than narrower cuffs. It is our hypothesis that this is due to the balling up of the biceps underneath the cuff that is more pronounced with a wider cuff. One method to test this is through an upper body exercise where there is no contraction of the biceps.

To investigate the effects of cuff width on discomfort following isometric handgrip exercise.

One hundred participants completed this experiment. In a randomized order, the participants performed four sets of two-minute isometric handgrip contractions with thirty seconds of rest at thirty percent of their maximal voluntary contraction with a 5 and 12 cm cuff inflated to 40% of arterial occlusion pressure. Discomfort ratings (0–100) were given after the fourth set of exercise. Average force was recorded for all four sets.

There was no difference in discomfort (BF10 = 0.158) [median difference (95% credible interval) −0.997 (−3.360, 1.283) arbitrary units], or in average force (BF10 = 0.132) [median difference (95% credible interval) 0.08 (−0.199, 0.372) kilograms], between cuff conditions. There did not appear to be a greater preference for either cuff. Forty people preferred the narrow cuff (BF10 = 0.325), forty people preferred the wide cuff (BF10 = 0.325), and twenty people had no preference (BF10 = 7.719).

Cuff width does not appear to influence discomfort or the average force produced. This provides support for our hypothesis that the shape of the muscle may interact with wider cuff sizes, leading to greater discomfort.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-73
Number of pages10
JournalPhysiology International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Feb 2023
Externally publishedYes

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