Electrical stimulation (ES) and magnetic stimulation (MS), applied peripherally, may be used to elicit muscle contractions to increase muscle hypertrophy, increase muscle strength and reduce knee laxity in rehabilitation following injury. We aimed to examine the effect of a three-week exercise programme designed to induce muscle hypertrophy augmented by peripheral ES and MS. We hypothesised that the use of peripheral stimulation to augment voluntary drive during a resistance-training protocol would induce more repetitions thus leading to increased thigh circumference, muscle layer thickness, and quadriceps strength whilst decreasing knee laxity. Thirty healthy participants were divided randomly into either ES, MS or Control groups. Five resistance training sessions were carried out, consisting of four sets of quadriceps extensions. During the first three sets the participants performed eight repetitions at 85% of their 1-repetition maximum (1-RM). On the last set, the participants were instructed to perform the exercise until failure. The augmentation of peripheral stimuli allowed the MS and ES groups to continue to exercise producing, on average, 4 ± 2 and 7 ± 6 additional repetitions with ES and MS, respectively. Following the training, significant increases were observed for both 1-RM (p
= 0.005) and muscle layer thickness (p
= 0.031) whilst no change was observed in thigh circumference (p
= 0.365). Knee laxity decreased (p
= 0.005). However, there were no significant differences in the stimulation groups compared with control for any of these measurements. The additional repetitions elicited by stimulation after the point of failure suggests that peripheral electrical and/or magnetic stimulation may be useful as an adjunct for resistance training. However, this effect of resistance training augmented by peripheral stimulation on hypertrophy, strength and knee laxity may be small.
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