Last month, PULSE Racing has been working for the first time with spatially distributed sequential stimulation (SDSS) during training sessions.

Because the name spatially distributed sequential stimulation is quite a mouthful, it was soon replaced by Splitter. Much easier. Besides, the name splitter gives a good idea of what this new technique entails. Instead of one electrode, the Splitter consists of four electrodes and one reference electrode that can be attached to a muscle. See the image below. The frequency is divided by the Splitter over the four separate electrodes. This allows the motor points to be activated from multiple sides. Motor points are the locations in the body where motor nerves attach to the muscle.

The Splitter consists of four electrodes (left) instead of one (right).

What are the benefits of using the Splitter?

There is strong evidence that the Splitter leads to a higher power output, higher fatigue resistance and a higher number of activated axons compared to the single electrode stimulation (SES) used so far (Sayenko et al., 2014; Nguyen et al., 2011; Laubacher et al., 2016; Laubacher et al., 2017).

How can these benefits be explained?

Although the mechanisms causing the difference between SES and SDSS are not fully understood. By placing the sub-electrodes around a motor point, different motor units are activated. The activation of more muscle fibers, in combination with the lower frequency in which they are activated, allows the motor unit more time to recover between activations. This might result in the higher fatigue resistance using SDSS.  In addition, the small electrodes lead to higher current densities in specific points in the muscle.

The use of the Splitter seems to be a promising new technique to improve the effectiveness of Functional Electrostimulation (FES)! So, enough reasons to continue experimenting with the Splitter in the upcoming months. The Research Department will go ahead with collecting data about the use of the Splitter. Results from the VU lab can be compared with results from existing literature to see if the results correspond. Interested in our research? Feel free to mail to info@pulseracing.nl.