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Sven Rees, Aron Murphy and Mark Watsford

This study was designed to investigate the effects of vibration on muscle performance and mobility in a healthy, untrained, older population. Forty-three participants (23 men, 20 women, 66–85 y old) performed tests of sit-to-stand (STS), 5- and 10-m fast walk, timed up-and-go test, stair mobility, and strength. Participants were randomly assigned to a vibration group, an exercise-without-vibration group, or a control group. Training consisted of 3 sessions/wk for 2 mo. After training, the vibration and exercise groups showed improved STS (12.4%, 10.2%), 5-m fast walk (3.0%, 3.7%), and knee-extension strength (8.1%, 7.2%) compared with the control (p < 0.05). Even though vibration training improved lower limb strength, it did not appear to have a facilitatory effect on functional-performance tasks compared with the exercise-without-vibration group. Comparable mobility and performance changes between the experimental groups suggest that improvements are linked with greater knee-extension strength and largely attributed to the unloaded squats performed by both exercise groups.

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Ken A. McLachlan, Aron J. Murphy, Mark L. Watsford and Sven Rees

Two popular methods of assessing lower body musculotendinous stiffness include the hopping and oscillation tests. The disparity and paucity of reliability data prompted this investigation into leg musculotendinous stiffness (Kleg) and ankle musculotendinous stiffness (Kank) measures. Kleg and Kank were assessed on three separate occasions in 20 female subjects. Kleg was determined using bilateral hopping procedures conducted at 2.2 Hz and 3.2 Hz frequencies. Kank was assessed by perturbation of the subject's ankle musculotendinous unit on an instrumented calf raise apparatus at 70% of maximum isometric force (MIF). Excellent reliability was produced for all Kleg measures between all days, whereas Kank exhibited acceptable reliability after one session of familiarization. No relationship was evident between Kleg and Kank. It was concluded that no familiarization session was required for Kleg at the test frequencies and conditions tested, whereas at least one familiarization session was needed to ensure the reliable assessment of Kank.