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Plasticity of dynamic muscle performance with strength training in elderly humans

Reeves, Neil D. and Maganaris, Constantinos N. and Narici, Marco V. (2005) Plasticity of dynamic muscle performance with strength training in elderly humans. Muscle and nerve, 31 (3). pp. 355-64. ISSN 0148-639X

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Abstract

Data are scarce relating to the plasticity with strength training of dynamic muscle performance in older humans. Hence, we investigated alterations in the torque-velocity relation with strength training in old age, and their origin. Knee extension and leg-press exercises were performed three times per week for 14 weeks. Maximal isokinetic knee extension torque was assessed during concentric and eccentric muscle actions. Agonist-antagonist muscle activation was assessed using electromyography. Vastus lateralis muscle architecture was examined in vivo using ultrasonography. Training increased concentric torque by 22-37% (P < 0.01), but failed to alter eccentric torque (P > 0.05). Increased agonist muscle activation, increased muscle fascicle lengths, and greater elastic energy recovered from tendinous structures may explain the adaptations during concentric actions, whereas the failure of eccentric torque to increase might be explained by the preservation of eccentric force with aging and an underloading of the eccentric movement phase during training. These findings may have important implications for dynamic muscle performance in old age.

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