Wahl, P, Schaerk, J, Achtzehn, S, Kleinöder, H, Bloch, W, and Mester, J. Physiological responses and perceived exertion during cycling with superimposed electromyostimulation. J Strength Cond Res 26(9): 2383–2388, 2012—The goal of the study was to evaluate and to quantify the effects of local electromyostimulation (EMS) during cycling on the cardiorespiratory system, muscle metabolism, and perceived exertion compared with cycling with no EMS. Ten healthy men (age: 24.6 ± 3.2 years, V[Combining Dot Above]O2max: 54.1 ± 6.0 ml·min−1·kg−1) performed 3 incremental cycle ergometer step tests, 1 without and 2 with EMS (30 and 85 Hz) until volitional exhaustion. Lactate values and respiratory exchange ratio were significantly higher at intensities ≥75% peak power output (PPO) when EMS was applied. Bicarbonate concentration, base excess (BE), and Pco2 were significantly lower when EMS was applied compared with the control at intensities ≥75% PPO. Saliva cortisol levels increased because of the exercise but were unaffected by EMS. Furthermore, EMS showed greater effects on CK levels 24 hours postexercise than normal cycling did. Rating of perceived exertion was significantly higher at 100% PPO with EMS. No statistical differences were found for heart rate, pH, and Po2 between the tested cycling modes. The main findings of this study are greater metabolic changes (lactate, respiratory exchange ratio, BE,
, Pco2) during cycling with EMS compared with normal cycling independent of frequency, mainly visible at higher work rates. Because metabolic alterations are important for the induction of cellular signaling cascades and adaptations, these results lead to the hypothesis that applied EMS stimulations during cycling exercise might be an enhancing stimulus for skeletal muscle metabolism and related adaptations. Thus, superimposed EMS application during cycling could be beneficial to aerobic performance enhancements in athletes and in patients who cannot perform high workloads. However, the higher demand on skeletal muscles involved must be considered.