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Erika Zemková and Michal Jeleň

Objective: This study investigates the ability of subjects to differentiate the strength of back muscle contraction with and without feedback information on force produced under fatigue and nonfatigue conditions. Design: Controlled laboratory study. Setting: Research laboratory environment. Participants: A group of 52 healthy young men participated in the study. Intervention: Subjects self-estimated 50% of the maximal voluntary isometric contraction of back muscles either on their own volition or on the basis of information about the actual force, before and after the Sørensen fatigue test. Main Outcome Measures: The force was measured by means of the FiTRO Back Dynamometer. Results: The self-estimated 50% maximal voluntary isometric contraction was significantly higher than the one calculated from maximal voluntary isometric contraction during 10 trials in 2 repeated sessions (8.3% and 10.0%, P < .05). However, when feedback on the force produced was provided, significantly higher values were observed during an initial trial in both sessions (8.5%, P = .04 and 12.1%, P = .01). Subjects were able to estimate the target force during the following trials. Fatigue induced a decrease in peak force (7.7%, P = .04), whereas the ability to regulate the prescribed force was not compromised. Constant error was lower with than without force feedback during both measurements (2.15% and 6.85%; 3.06% and 8.56%). However, constant and variable errors were greater under fatigue than nonfatigue conditions (8.43% and 5.55%; 0.41% and 0.37%). Similarly, root mean square error decreased with force feedback (from 6.88% to 3.48% and from 8.74% to 5.09%) and increased under fatigue (from 5.87% to 8.67%). Conclusions: These findings indicate that force feedback plays a role in the differentiation of the strength of back muscle contraction, regardless of fatigue. It contributes to a more precise regulation of force produced during voluntary isometric contraction of back muscles. This promising method awaits further experimentation to be applied for individuals with low back pain.

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Erika Zemková, Michal Jeleň, Zuzana Kovác̆iková, Gábor Ollé, Tomáš Vilman and Dušan Hamar

The study evaluates the effect of weight lifted on power in the concentric phase of resistance exercises on stable and unstable surfaces. A group of 19 fit men performed randomly on different days 3 reps of (a) barbell chest presses on the bench and Swiss ball, and (b) barbell squats on stable base and BOSU ball. Exercises were performed without and with countermovement (CM) using maximal effort in concentric phase. Initial weight of 20 kg was increased by 10 kg or 5 kg (at higher loads) up to at least 85% of previously established 1RM under stable conditions. Results showed no significant differences in mean power in the concentric phase of stable and unstable CM chest presses at lower weights lifted (from 20 to 50 kg). However, its values were significantly higher during chest presses on the bench than on Swiss ball while lifting higher weights (from 60 to 90 kg). Similarly, mean power in the concentric phase of squats was significantly higher on stable base than on BOSU ball at higher weights lifted (from 60 to 90 kg). Though a set of data showed significant differences, the effect sizes ≤ 0.7 suggest no practically meaningful differences. It may be concluded that unstable base compromises the power in the concentric phase of resistance exercises, however, only at higher weights lifted.