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Dean Norris, David Joyce, Jason Siegler, James Clock and Ric Lovell

Purpose: This study assessed the utility of force–time characteristics from the isometric midthigh pull (IMTP) as a measure of neuromuscular function after elite-level Australian rules football matches. It was hypothesized that rate characteristics of force development would demonstrate a different response magnitude and recovery time course than peak force measurements. Methods: Force–time characteristics of the IMTP (peak force, 0- to 50-ms rate of force development [RFD], 100- to 200-ms RFD) were collected at 48 (G+2), 72 (G+3), and 96 h (G+4) after 3 competitive Australian rules football matches. Results: Meaningful reductions (>75% of the smallest worthwhile change) were observed at G+2, G+3, and G+4 for RFD 0–50 milliseconds (−25.8%, −17.5%, and −16.9%) and at G+2 and G+3 for RFD 100–200 milliseconds (−15.7% and −11.7%). No meaningful reductions were observed for peak force at any time point (G+2 −4.0%, G+3 −3.9%, G+4 −2.7%). Higher week-to-week variation was observed for RFD 0–50 milliseconds (G+2 17.1%, G+3 27.2%, G+4 19.3%) vs both RFD 100–200 milliseconds (G+2 11.3%, G+3 11.5%, G+4 7.2%) and peak force (G+2 4.8%, G+3 4.4%, G+4 8.4%). Conclusions: These findings highlight the potential use of rate characteristics from the IMTP as measures of neuromuscular function in elite sport settings, and in particular RFD 100–200 milliseconds due to its higher reliability. Interestingly, peak force collected from the IMTP was not meaningfully suppressed at any time point after elite Australian rules football match play. This suggests that rate characteristics from IMTP may provide more sensitive and valuable insight regarding neuromuscular function recovery kinetics than peak measures.

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Joyce E. Ballard, Lorraine S. Wallace, David B. Holiday, Cassandra Herron, Liberty L. Harrington, Karen C. Mobbs and Patricia Cussen

This study assessed differences in bone-mineral density (BMD) and lean and fat tissues between 5 age groups of White men age 65–93 years. Lean and fat tissues were measured with absorptiometry and anthropometry, and BMD, with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Forearm, spinal, and femoral T scores were used to classify BMD as normal, osteopenic, or osteoporotic. A questionnaire evaluated previous physical activity, calcium intake, and bone fractures. Significantly lower values in body weight, lean tissue, and forearm BMD occurred in the older age groups. Significant, positive relationships were found between total lean tissue and radial, spinal, and hip BMDs. For the total group, osteopenic and osteoporotic T scores, respectively, were femoral neck 70.6% and 9.8%, radius 27.5% and 25.5%, and spine 25.5% and 7.8%. Differences in BMD values were found between levels of lifestyle factors (dietary calcium and history of previous fractures). In conclusion, elderly men should be encouraged to maintain adequate total lean tissue because of its association with BMD.

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Rodrigo Cappato de Araújo, Vinícius Yan Santos Nascimento, Rafaela Joyce Barbosa Torres, Francis Trombini-Souza, David Behm and Ana Carolina Rodarti Pitangui

Context: It is believed that conscious abdominal contraction (CAC) during exercise encourages greater periscapular activation through existing myofascial connections. On the other hand, it is postulated that the use of unstable surfaces would promote greater neuromuscular demand. Objective: To analyze the effect of CAC on periscapular muscle activity during push-up plus exercise on stable and unstable surfaces and to evaluate the correlation between electromyographic (EMG) activity of the serratus anterior (SA) and abdominal oblique muscles. Design: Repeated-measures design in a single group, pre–post CAC. Setting: Biomechanics laboratory. Participants: Twenty-three male volunteers without a history of lesions in the upper limbs participated in the study. Main Outcome Measures: Five repetitions of push-ups on stable and unstable surfaces were performed with and without instruction for CAC. The normalized amplitude of the EMG activity was obtained from the muscles of the upper, middle, and lower trapezius, SA upper (SA_5th) and lower (SA_7th) portions, external oblique (EO), and internal oblique. Results: CAC increased the activity of the EO, internal oblique, middle trapezius, and SA (P < .05) in both surfaces. The use of the unstable surface increased the EMG activity of the EO, SA_7th, and middle trapezius and decreased the EMG activity of the SA_5th. However, all changes observed in EMG signals were of low magnitude, with effect sizes lower than 0.45. There was a weak correlation between the EMG activity of the EO and SA_5th (r = .24) and a strong correlation between the EO and SA_7th (r = .70). Conclusion: The isolated use of CAC or unstable surface during push-up seems to present no practical relevance, but the combined use of these strategies may increase activation of the SA_7th and middle trapezius muscles.