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Caroline Nicol and Paavo V. Komi

Magnitude of the reflex contribution to force enhancement was investigated in vivo during passive stretches of the Achilles tendon (AT) of one female subject. Thirty passive (5 × 6) dorsiflexions were induced by a motorized ankle ergometer. Achilles tendon force (ATF) was sensed by a buckle transducer applied surgically around the right AT. Single passive stretches resulted in a low but rather linear ATF increase in the absence of EMG (surface electrodes) activity. In the presence of reflexes, a clear ATF enhancement occurred 13–15 ms after the beginning of the EMG reflex responses. In double dorsiflexions at either 1.2 or 1.9 rad · s-1, which were separated by a maintained stretched position of either 40 or 90 ms, the first stretch resulted in initial linear ATF increase, followed by an additional force enhancement during the plateau phase. This reflexly induced increase represented 94 ± 4 N and 184 ± 1 N, respectively, for the 40 and the 90 ms plateaus, corresponding to 210 ± 85% and 486 ± 177% enhancements as compared to the first passive stretch effect. The results suggest further that timing of the stretch during the twitch response influences the magnitude and rate of force potentiation.

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Olivier Rey, Jean-Marc Vallier, Caroline Nicol, Charles-Symphorien Mercier and Christophe Maïano


This study examined the effects of a five-week intervention combining vigorous interval training (VIT) with diet among twenty-four obese adolescents. Fourteen girls and ten boys (aged 14–15) schooled in a pediatric rehabilitation center participated.


The VIT intensity was targeted and remained above 80% of maximal heart rate (HR) and over six kilocalories per minute. Pre- and postintervention measures were body composition (BMI, weight, body fat percentage), physical self-perceptions (PSP), physical fitness (6-min walking distance and work) and its associated physiological responses (HRpeak and blood lactate concentration). A series of two-way analyses of variance or covariance controlling for weight loss were used to examine the changes.


Significant improvements were found in body composition, physical fitness and PSP (endurance, activity level, sport competence, global physical self-concept and appearance). In addition, boys presented higher levels of perceived strength and global physical self-concept than girls. Finally, there was a significant increase in perceived endurance, sport competence, and global physical self-concept in girls only.


This five-week VIT program combined with diet represents an effective means for improving body composition, physical fitness, and PSP in obese adolescents, the effects on PSP being larger among girls.