This study investigated the recruitment of type I, IIA and IIAX fibres after seven isometric contractions at 40, 70 and 100% maximal voluntary knee extension torque (MVC, 1 s on/1 s off). Biopsies of the vastus lateralis muscle were collected from seven subjects at rest and immediately post-exercise. Fibre fragments were dissected from the freeze-dried samples and characterized as type I, IIA and IIAX using mATPase staining. Phosphocreatine (PCr) and creatine (Cr) content were measured in the remaining part of characterized fibres. A decline in the ratio of PCr to Cr (PCr/Cr) was used as an indication of activation. The mean peak torques were, respectively, 39 (2), 72 (2) and 87 (6)% MVC. Cumulative distributions of type I and IIA fibres were significantly shifted to lower PCr/Cr ratios at all intensities (Kolmogorov-Smirnov test, P<0.05). The cumulative distribution of type IIAX fibres showed a significant leftward shift only at 87% MVC ( P<0.05). A hierarchical order of fibre activation with increasing intensity of exercise was found, with some indication of rate coding for type I and IIA fibres. Evidence for activation of type IIAX fibres was only found at 87% MVC.