This study compares the fatigability of the ankle dorsiflexors during five sets of 30 maximal concentric and eccentric contractions in young and elderly adults. The torque produced by the ankle dorsiflexors and the average surface electromyogram (aEMG) of the tibialis anterior were continuously recorded. The contribution of central and peripheral mechanisms to muscle fatigue was tested before, after each set of contractions, and during a 30 min recovery period by the superimposed electrical stimulation method. The compound muscle action potential (M-wave), the mechanical response to single (twitch) and paired (doublet) stimulation, and the postactivation potentiation were also recorded. Compared with young subjects, elderly adults exhibited a greater loss of torque for concentric (50.2 vs. 40.9%; P<0.05) and eccentric (42.1 vs. 27.1%; P < 0.01) contractions. Although young subjects showed a lesser decrease in torque during the eccentric compared with concentric contractions, elderly adults experienced similar fatigability for the two types of contractions despite a comparable depression in the EMG activity of both groups and contraction types (10-20%). As tested by the interpolated-twitch method and aEMG/M-wave ratio, voluntary activation was not altered during either type of contraction or for either age group. During the two fatigue tasks, only elderly adults experienced a decrease in M-wave area (26.4-35.4%; P < 0.05). All together, our results suggest that the fatigue exhibited by both young and elderly adults during maximal concentric and eccentric contractions mainly involved peripheral alterations and that elderly adults may also have experienced a decline in neuromuscular propagation.
"Callahan, Foulis and Kent-Braun (2009) found that fatigue resistance in the knee extensor muscles was similar among young and older adults during dynamic contractions. Others reported that older adults develop greater fatigue during dynamic contractions (Baudry et al. 2007; Dalton et al. 2010). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Age may modify the association between occupational physical demand and muscle loading, and ultimately increase the risk of musculoskeletal disorders. The goal of this study was to investigate age-related differences in shoulder muscle fatigue development during a repetitive manual task. Twenty participants in two age groups completed an 80-minute simulated low-intensity assembly task. Electromyographic (EMG) manifestation of muscle fatigue was observed in the upper trapezius, deltoid and infraspinatus muscles in both age groups, and coincided with an increase in the subjective ratings of perceived exertions. Compared with the younger group, older group showed a more monotonic decrease in EMG power frequency in the upper trapezius and deltoid muscles. However, the age-related difference in EMG amplitude was less consistent. Relative rest time of the upper trapezius muscle in the older group was less than the young group throughout the task. The observed patterns of EMG measures suggest that older participants may have disadvantages in fatigue resistance in the upper trapezius and posterior deltoid muscles during the simulated repetitive manual task.
"Most previous studies have observed greater acute neuromuscular fatigue in young versus older adults (e.g., Häkkinen 1995; Lanza et al. 2004; Baudry et al. 2007). However, of the studies showing the opposite trend, one common factor seems to be the use of high velocity dynamic contractions (Petrella et al. 2005; McNeil and Rice 2007; Callahan and Kent-Braun 2011; Dalton et al. 2012). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The purpose of the present study was to determine: (1) if different acute neuromuscular responses occur between constant versus variable external resistance machines, two commonly used resistance machines and (2) whether the potential differences in fatigability between young and older men influence the magnitude of acute response between these resistance machines. Twelve young men (28 ± 5 year) and 13 older men (65.4 ± 4 year) performed 15 × 1 repetition maximum and 5 × 10 repetitions isotonic knee extension resistance loadings with both constant and variable resistance (four loadings in total). Maximum isometric knee extension torque, superimposed twitch, resting twitch torque, maximal M wave properties, electromyograph, and blood lactate concentration measured the effects of loading. Concentric torque reduced to a greater extent during variable 15 × 1 versus constant loading in young men only (P < 0.05). While three out of the four loadings caused decreased voluntary activation in young men, only 15 × 1 using variable resistance caused reductions in older men (P < 0.05). 5 × 10 variable resistance loading significantly increased M wave duration and decreased EMG median frequency, which was not observed following constant resistance loading in both age groups. Acute decreases in force production were significantly greater in young men following all loading protocols (P < 0.05). Both young and older men showed indications of greater fatigue from variable resistance loadings. Differing muscle properties may have led to different magnitudes of fatigue between groups, and older subjects may benefit from specifically tailored training programs.
"Alternative methods of ITT consist in (1) central activation ratio superimposing a train of stimuli (or to single/double pulses) to MVC (Bigland-Ritchie et al. 1978; Martin et al. 2010; Rutherford et al. 1986), (2) comparing the MVC response to the force evoked by a high-frequency tetanus (Martin et al. 1999) or (3) examining the change in RMS · M ¡1 which is the root mean square of maximal EMG response during voluntary contractions normalized to maximal M wave, i.e. EMG response to a single stimulus (Baudry et al. 2007; Millet et al. 2003b). This latter technique is less reproducible since intraday coeYcients of variation (CV) were found to be ·2.5% for ITT or central activation ratio versus >10% for RMS · M ¡1 (Place et al. 2007; Todd et al. 2004) and similar results were found for interday CVs. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The use of electrical stimulation (ES) can contribute to our knowledge of how our neuromuscular system can adapt to physical stress or unloading. Although it has been recently challenged, the standard technique used to explore central modifications is the twitch interpolated method which consists in superimposing single twitches or high-frequency doublets on a maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) and to compare the superimposed response to the potentiated response obtained from the relaxed muscle. Alternative methods consist in (1) superimposing a train of stimuli (central activation ratio), (2) comparing the MVC response to the force evoked by a high-frequency tetanus or (3) examining the change in maximal EMG response during voluntary contractions, if this variable is normalized to the maximal M wave, i.e. EMG response to a single stimulus. ES is less used to examine supraspinal factors but it is useful for investigating changes at the spinal level, either by using H reflexes, F waves or cervicomedullary motor-evoked potentials. Peripheral changes can be examined with ES, usually by stimulating the muscle in the relaxed state. Neuromuscular propagation of action potentials on the sarcolemma (M wave, high-frequency fatigue), excitation-contraction coupling (e.g. low-frequency fatigue) and intrinsic force (high-frequency stimulation at supramaximal intensity) can all be used to non-invasively explore muscular function with ES. As for all indirect methods, there are limitations and these are discussed in this review. Finally, (1) ES as a method to measure respiratory muscle function and (2) the comparison between electrical and magnetic stimulation will also be considered.
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