Gender Comparisons of Mechanomyographic Amplitude and Mean Power Frequency versus Isometric Torque Relationships

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Travis W. Beck University of Nebraska–Lincoln

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Terry J. Housh University of Nebraska–Lincoln

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Glen O. Johnson University of Nebraska–Lincoln

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Joseph P. Weir Des Moines University Osteopathic Medical Center

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Joel T. Cramer University of Texas at Arlington

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Jared W. Coburn University of Nebraska–Lincoln

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Moh H. Malek University of Nebraska–Lincoln

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This study compared the patterns of mechanomyographic (MMG) amplitude and mean power frequency vs. torque relationships in men and women during isometric muscle actions of the biceps brachii. Seven men (mean age 23.9 ± 3.5 yrs) and 8 women (mean 21.0 ± 1.3 yrs) performed submaximal to maximal isometric muscle actions of the dominant forearm flexors. Following determination of the isometric maximum voluntary contraction (MVC), they randomly performed submaximal step muscle actions in 10% increments from 10% to 90% MVC. Polynomial regression analyses indicated that the MMG amplitude vs. isometric torque relationship for the men was best fit with a cubic model (R2 = 0.983), where MMG amplitude increased slightly from 10% to 20% MVC, increased rapidly from 20% to 80% MVC, and plateaued from 80% to 100% MVC. For the women, MMG amplitude increased linearly (r2 = 0.949) from 10% to 100% MVC. Linear models also provided the best fit for the MMG mean power frequency vs. isometric torque relationship in both the men (r2 = 0.813) and women (r2 = 0.578). The results demonstrated gender differences in the MMG amplitude vs. isometric torque relationship, but similar torque-related patterns for MMG mean power frequency. These findings suggested that the plateau in MMG amplitude at high levels of isometric torque production for the biceps brachii in the men, but not the women, may have been due to greater isometric torque, muscle stiffness, and/or intramuscular fluid pressure in the men, rather than to differences in motor unit activation strategies for modulating isometric torque production.

Dept. of Nutrition and Health Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68588-0229

Applied Physiology Lab, Des Moines University Osteopathic Medical Center, Des Moines, IA 50312

Dept. of Kinesiology, The University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX 76019-0259.

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