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Michael W.R. Holmes and Peter J. Keir

Understanding joint stiffness and stability is beneficial for assessing injury risk. The purpose of this study was to examine joint rotational stiffness for individual muscles contributing to elbow joint stability. Fifteen male participants maintained combinations of three body orientations (standing, supine, sitting) and three hand preloads (no load, solid tube, fluid filled tube) while a device imposed a sudden elbow extension. Elbow angle and activity from nine muscles were inputs to a biomechanical model to determine relative contributions to elbow joint rotational stiffness, reported as percent of total stiffness. A body orientation by preload interaction was evident for most muscles (P < .001). Brachioradialis had the largest change in contribution while standing (no load, 18.5%; solid, 23.8%; fluid, 26.3%). Across trials, the greatest contributions were brachialis (30.4 ± 1.9%) and brachioradialis (21.7 ± 2.2%). Contributions from the forearm muscles and triceps were 5.5 ± 0.6% and 9.2 ± 1.9%, respectively. Contributions increased at time points closer to the perturbation (baseline to anticipatory), indicating increased neuromuscular response to resist rotation. This study quantified muscle contributions that resist elbow perturbations, found that forearm muscles contribute marginally and showed that orientation and preload should be considered when evaluating elbow joint stiffness and safety.

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Ahmed Ismaeel, Michael Holmes, Evlampia Papoutsi, Lynn Panton and Panagiotis Koutakis

Resistance training is known to promote the generation of reactive oxygen species. Although this can likely upregulate the natural, endogenous antioxidant defense systems, high amounts of reactive oxygen species can cause skeletal muscle damage, fatigue, and impair recovery. To prevent these, antioxidant supplements are commonly consumed along with exercise. Recently, it has been shown that these reactive oxygen species are important for the cellular adaptation process, acting as redox signaling molecules. However, most of the research regarding antioxidant status and antioxidant supplementation with exercise has focused on endurance training. In this review, the authors discuss the evidence for resistance training modulating the antioxidant status. They also highlight the effects of combining antioxidant supplementation with resistance training on training-induced skeletal muscle adaptations.

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Chadwick Debison-Larabie, Bernadette A. Murphy and Michael W.R. Holmes

This study examined sex differences in head kinematics and neck muscle activity during sudden head perturbations. Sixteen competitive ice hockey players participated. Three muscles were monitored bilaterally using surface electromyography: sternocleidomastoid, scalene, and splenius capitis. Head and thorax kinematics were measured. Head perturbations were induced by the release of a 1.5-kg weight attached to a wire wrapped around an adjustable pulley secured to the participant’s head. Perturbations were delivered in 4 directions (flexion, extension, right lateral bend, and left lateral bend). Muscle onset times, muscle activity, and head kinematics were examined during 3 time periods (2 preperturbation and 1 postperturbation). Females had significantly greater head acceleration during left lateral bend (31.4%, P < .05) and flexion (37.9%, P = .01). Females had faster muscle onset times during flexion (females = 51 ± 11 ms; males = 61 ± 10 ms; P = .001) and slower onset times during left lateral bend and extension. Females had greater left/right sternocleidomastoid and scalene activity during extension (P = .01), with no difference in head acceleration. No consistent neuromuscular strategy could explain all directional sex differences. Females had greater muscle activity postperturbation during extension, suggesting a neuromuscular response to counter sudden acceleration, possibly explaining the lack of head acceleration differences.

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Michael W. Holmes, Scott N. MacKinnon, Julie Matthews, Wayne J. Albert and Steven Mills

Seafaring occupations have been shown to place operators at an increased risk for injury. The purpose of this study was to understand better the demands of a moving environment on the ability of a person to perform specific lifting tasks. Subjects lifted a 15-kg load under four different lifting conditions. A 6-degree-of-freedom ship motion simulator imposed repeatable deck motions under foot while subjects executed the lifting tasks. Subjects were oriented in three different positions on the simulator floor to inflict different motion profiles. Electromyographic records of four muscles were collected bilaterally, and thoracolumbar kinematics were measured. A repeated-measures ANOVA was employed to assess trunk motions and muscle activities across lifting and motion conditions. The erector spinae muscles showed a trend toward significant differences for motion effects. Maximal sagittal velocities were significantly smaller for all motion states in comparison with the stable condition (p ≤ .01), whereas maximum twisting and lateral bending velocities were higher (p ≤ .05). Results suggest working in a moving environment will likely increase the operator’s risk for overexertion injuries, particularly to the trunk region.