This study examined the acute effects of passive stretching on electromechanical delay (EMD), peak twitch force (PTF), rate of force development (RFD), and peak-to-peak M-wave (PPM) for the soleus muscle during evoked isometric plantar flexion muscle actions. Fourteen men (mean age ± SD = 21.2 ± 2.4 years; body mass = 80.0 ± 14.9 kg; height = 176.9 ± 7.2 cm) and 20 women (20.9 ± 2.5 years; 61.3 ± 8.9 kg; 165.3 ± 7.5 cm) volunteered for the study. Five single-square, supramaximal transcutaneous electrical stimuli (each separated by 5 s) were delivered to the tibial nerve before and after passive stretching. A time × gender interaction was observed for EMD, and the post hoc dependent-samples t tests indicated that EMD increased 4% for the women (p = .023), but not for the men (p = .191). There were no other stretching-related changes for PTF, RFD, or p-p M-wave for either the men or women (p > .05). These findings tentatively suggested that mechanical factors related to the stiffness of the muscle-tendon unit may contribute to the explanation for why stretching caused an acute increase in the EMD during evoked twitches in the women, but not in the men.
Pablo B. Costa, Eric D. Ryan, Trent J. Herda, Ashley A. Walter, Katherine M. Hoge, and Joel T. Cramer
Zachary M. Gillen, Lacey E. Jahn, Marni E. Shoemaker, Brianna D. McKay, Alegra I. Mendez, Nicholas A. Bohannon, and Joel T. Cramer
This study measured peak force (PF), peak rate of force development (PRFD), peak power (PP), concentric impulse, and eccentric impulse during static jump (SJ), countermovement jump (CMJ), and drop jump (DJ) in youth athletes to examine changes in vertical jump power with progressively greater eccentric preloading in relation to age, maturity, and muscle mass. Twenty-one males ranging from 6 to 16 years old performed the following vertical jumps in a random order: SJ, CMJ, and DJ from drop heights of 20, 30, and 40 cm (DJ20, DJ30, and DJ40, respectively). Measurements included PF, PRFD, PP, eccentric impulse, and concentric impulse for each vertical jump condition. Maturity offset was calculated, while ultrasound images quantified thigh muscle cross-sectional area (CSA). PF and PRFD increased from CMJ to DJ20. PP increased from SJ to CMJ. Concentric impulse remained unchanged, but eccentric impulse increased systematically from across jumps. The change in PP from SJ to CMJ was correlated with age, height, weight, maturity offset, and CSA. The CMJ resulted in the greatest concentric PP with the least amount of eccentric preloading. The inability of young athletes to translate the energy absorbed during the eccentric phase of the stretch-shortening cycle of DJs may be influenced by growth and development.
Travis W. Beck, Terry J. Housh, Glen O. Johnson, Joseph P. Weir, Joel T. Cramer, Jared W. Coburn, and Moh H. Malek
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 (R 2 = 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 (r 2 = 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 (r 2 = 0.813) and women (r 2 = 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.