This study aimed to identify areas of reduced surface EMG amplitude and changed frequency across the phase space of a maximal dynamic knee extension task. The hypotheses were that (1) amplitude would be lower for eccentric contractions compared with concentric contractions and unaffected by fiber length and (2) mean frequency would also be lower for eccentric contractions and unaffected by fiber length. Joint torque and EMG signals from the vasti and rectus femoris were recorded for eight athletic subjects performing maximum knee extensions at 13 preset crank velocities spanning ±300°⋅s−1. The instantaneous amplitude and mean frequency were calculated using the continuous wavelet transform time–frequency method, and the fiber dynamics were determined using a muscle model of the knee extensions. The results indicated that (1) only for the rectus femoris were amplitudes significantly lower for eccentric contractions (p = .019) and, for the vasti, amplitudes during eccentric contractions were less than maximal but this was also the case for concentric contractions due to a significant reduction in amplitude toward knee extension (p = .023), and (2) mean frequency increased significantly with decreasing fiber length for all knee extensors and contraction velocities (p = .029). Using time–frequency processing of the EMG signals and a muscle model allowed the simultaneous assessment of fiber length, velocity, and EMG.
Stephanie E. Forrester and Matthew T.G. Pain
Matthew I. Black, Joseph C. Handsaker, Sam J. Allen, Stephanie E. Forrester and Jonathan P. Folland
The influence of running speed and sex on running economy is unclear and may have been confounded by measurements of oxygen cost that do not account for known differences in substrate metabolism, across a limited range of speeds, and differences in performance standard. Therefore, this study assessed the energy cost of running over a wide range of speeds in high-level and recreational runners to investigate the effect of speed (in absolute and relative terms) and sex (men vs women of equivalent performance standard) on running economy. To determine the energy cost (kcal · kg−1 · km−1) of submaximal running, speed at lactate turn point (sLTP), and maximal rate of oxygen uptake, 92 healthy runners (high-level men, n = 14; high-level women, n = 10; recreational men, n = 35; recreational women, n = 33) completed a discontinuous incremental treadmill test. There were no sex-specific differences in the energy cost of running for the recreational or high-level runners when compared at absolute or relative running speeds (P > .05). The absolute and relative speed–energy cost relationships for the high-level runners demonstrated a curvilinear U shape with a nadir reflecting the most economical speed at 13 km/h or 70% sLTP. The high-level runners were more economical than the recreational runners at all absolute and relative running speeds (P < .05). These findings demonstrate that there is an optimal speed for economical running, there is no sex-specific difference, and high-level endurance runners exhibit better running economy than recreational endurance runners.
Aimée C. Smith, Jonathan R. Roberts, Eric S. Wallace, Pui Kong and Stephanie E. Forrester
Two-dimensional methods have been used to compute trunk kinematic variables (flexion/extension, lateral bend, axial rotation) and X-factor (difference in axial rotation between trunk and pelvis) during the golf swing. Recent X-factor studies advocated three-dimensional (3D) analysis due to the errors associated with two-dimensional (2D) methods, but this has not been investigated for all trunk kinematic variables. The purpose of this study was to compare trunk kinematic variables and X-factor calculated by 2D and 3D methods to examine how different approaches influenced their profiles during the swing. Trunk kinematic variables and X-factor were calculated for golfers from vectors projected onto the global laboratory planes and from 3D segment angles. Trunk kinematic variable profiles were similar in shape; however, there were statistically significant differences in trunk flexion (–6.5 ± 3.6°) at top of backswing and trunk right-side lateral bend (8.7 ± 2.9°) at impact. Differences between 2D and 3D X-factor (approximately 16°) could largely be explained by projection errors introduced to the 2D analysis through flexion and lateral bend of the trunk and pelvis segments. The results support the need to use a 3D method for kinematic data calculation to accurately analyze the golf swing.
Filipe Conceição, Mark A. King, Maurice R. Yeadon, Martin G.C. Lewis and Stephanie E. Forrester
This study aimed to determine whether subject-specific individual muscle models for the ankle plantar flexors could be obtained from single joint isometric and isovelocity maximum torque measurements in combination with a model of plantar flexion. Maximum plantar flexion torque measurements were taken on one subject at six knee angles spanning full flexion to full extension. A planar three-segment (foot, shank and thigh), two-muscle (soleus and gastrocnemius) model of plantar flexion was developed. Seven parameters per muscle were determined by minimizing a weighted root mean square difference (wRMSD) between the model output and the experimental torque data. Valid individual muscle models were obtained using experimental data from only two knee angles giving a wRMSD score of 16 N m, with values ranging from 11 to 17 N m for each of the six knee angles. The robustness of the methodology was confirmed through repeating the optimization with perturbed experimental torques (±20%) and segment lengths (±10%) resulting in wRMSD scores of between 13 and 20 N m. Hence, good representations of maximum torque can be achieved from subject-specific individual muscle models determined from single joint maximum torque measurements. The proposed methodology could be applied to muscle-driven models of human movement with the potential to improve their validity.