Ramp isometric contractions determine peak torque (PT) and neuromuscular activation (NA), and ballistic contractions can be used to evaluate rate of torque development (RTD) and electrical mechanical delay (EMD). The purposes of this study were to assess the number of sessions required to stabilize ramp and ballistic PT and to compare PT and NA between contractions in older adults. Thirty-five older men and women (age 63.7 ± 3.7 yr, body mass 64.3 ± 10.7 kg, height 159.2 ± 6.6 cm) performed 4 sessions of unilateral ramp and ballistic isometric knee extension, 48 hr apart. PT significantly increased (main time effect p < .05) from the first to the third session, with no further improvements thereafter. There was a trend toward higher PT in ballistic than in ramp contractions. No difference between contraction types on EMG values was observed. Therefore, the authors suggest that 3 familiarization sessions be performed to correctly assess PT. In addition, PT, NA, RTD, and EMD can be assessed with ballistic contraction in older adults.
Wallerstein, Barroso, Tricoli, and Ugrinowitsch are with the School of Physical Education and Sport, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil. Mello is with the Center for Psychobiology and Exercise Studies, Federal University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.