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Kensaku Suei, Leslie McGillis, Randy Calvert and Oded Bar-Or

We assess relationships among muscle endurance, strength, and explosiveness in forty-eight 9.6- to 17.0-year-old males divided into 3 maturational groups (Tanner Stages I, II-IV, and V). Peak torque during isometric knee extension and flexion was averaged to reflect strength. Mechanical power in the Sargent vertical jump was taken as explosiveness, and total work in the Wingate test reflected muscle endurance. Correlations (3 groups combined) among the variables, expressed in absolute terms, were r = .82 to .92, but only -.11 to .70 when expressed per body mass or lean thigh size. These correlations were distinctly lower in the Tanner V boys than in the 2 less-mature groups, which may suggest that specialization into discrete muscle performance characteristics does not occur before late puberty.

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Maurice R. Yeadon, Pui W. Kong and Mark A. King

This study used kinematic data on springboard diving performances to estimate viscoelastic parameters of a planar model of a springboard and diver with wobbling masses in the trunk, thigh, and calf segments and spring dampers acting at the heel, ball, and toe of the foot segment. A subject-specific angle-driven eight-segment model was used with an optimization algorithm to determine viscoelastic parameter values by matching simulations to four diving performances. Using the parameters determined from the matching of a single dive in a simulation of another dive resulted in up to 31% difference between simulation and performance, indicating the danger of using too small a set of kinematic data. However, using four dives in a combined matching process to obtain a common set of parameters resulted in a mean difference of 8.6%. Because these four dives included very different rotational requirements, it is anticipated that the combined parameter set can be used with other dives from these two groups.

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Yusuke Osawa, Yasumichi Arai, Yuko Oguma, Takumi Hirata, Yukiko Abe, Koichiro Azuma, Michiyo Takayama and Nobuyoshi Hirose

This study investigated the relationships between muscle echo intensity (EI), physical activity (PA), and functional mobility in 108 Japanese (88–92 years). We measured EI and muscle thickness (MT) at the midpoint of the anterior superior iliac spine and patella using B-mode ultrasound. Light and moderate-to-vigorous PA (LPA and MVPA) were assessed with a triaxial accelerometer. The timed up and go (TUG) test was used to measure for functional mobility. EI, but not MT, was significantly associated with both TUG scores (β = 0.17, p = .047) and MVPA (β = –0.31, p = .01) when adjusted by potential confounders. However, association between EI and TUG disappeared after adjusted for MVPA. Meanwhile, MVPA was significantly associated with TUG scores independent of EI (β = –0.35, p < .001). Although EI of anterior thigh muscles might be a weaker predictor of functional morbidity than MVPA, it is a noninvasive and practical approach for assessing muscle quality in the very old.

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Scott Ross, Kevin Guskiewicz, William Prentice, Robert Schneider and Bing Yu

Objective:

T o determine differences between contralateral limbs’ strength, proprio-ception, and kinetic and knee-kinematic variables during single-limb landing.

Setting:

Laboratory.

Subjects:

30.

Measurements:

Hip, knee, and foot isokinetic peak torques; anterior/posterior (AP) and medial/lateral (ML) sway displacements during a balance task; and stabilization times, vertical ground-reaction force (VGRF), time to peak VGRF, and knee-flexion range of motion (ROM) from initial foot contact to peak VGRF during single-limb landing.

Results:

The kicking limb had significantly greater values for knee-extension (P = .008) and -flexion (P = .047) peak torques, AP sway displacement (P = .010), knee-flexion ROM from initial foot contact to peak VGRF (P < .001), and time to peak VGRF (P = .004). No other dependent measures were significantly different between limbs (P > .05).

Conclusion:

The kicking limb had superior thigh strength, better proprioception, and greater knee-flexion ROM than the stance limb.

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Keith R. Williams, Rebecca Snow and Chris Agruss

This study investigated changes in kinematics with fatigue during intercollegiate competition, a noncompetitive track run, and a constant speed treadmill run. To account for changes in kinematics resulting from speed differences, regression equations for each individual generated from nonfatigue data were used to predict rested kinematics for speeds matching those of the fatigue conditions. A factor analysis procedure grouped 29 kinematic variables into sets of independent factors, and both factor variables and individual variables were analyzed for changes with fatigue, which were minimal. Only one significant difference was found in the factor variables between nonfatigue and fatigue states. Comparisons of specific kinematic variables showed a significant increase in step length with fatigue, an increased maximal knee flexion angle during swing, and an increased maximal thigh angle during hip flexion. While fatigue did not result in marked changes in kinematics for the group as a whole, changes for individuals were at times large.

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Hwang-Jae Lee, Won Hyuk Chang, Sun Hee Hwang, Byung-Ok Choi, Gyu-Ha Ryu and Yun-Hee Kim

The purpose of this study was to examine age-related gait characteristics and their associations with balance function in older adults. A total of 51 adult volunteers participated. All subjects underwent locomotion analysis using a 3D motion analysis and 12-channel dynamic electromyography system. Dynamic balance function was assessed by the Berg Balance Scale. Older adults showed a higher level of muscle activation than young adults, and there were significant positive correlations between increased age and activation of the trunk and thigh muscles in the stance and swing phase of the gait cycle. In particular, back extensor muscle activity was mostly correlated with the dynamic balance in older adults. Thus, back extensor muscle activity in walking may provide a clue for higher falling risk in older adults. This study demonstrates that the back extensor muscles play very important roles with potential for rehabilitation training to improve balance and gait in older adults.

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Jonisha P. Pollard, William L. Porter and Mark S. Redfern

Euler angle decomposition and inverse dynamics were used to determine the knee angles and net forces and moments applied to the tibia during kneeling and squatting with and without kneepads for 10 subjects in four postures: squatting (Squat), kneeling on the right knee (One Knee), bilateral kneeling near full flexion (Near Full) and bilateral kneeling near 90° flexion (Near 90). Kneepads affected the knee flexion (p = .002), medial forces (p = .035), and internal rotation moments (p = .006). Squat created loading conditions that had higher varus (p < .001) and resultant moments (p = .027) than kneeling. One Knee resulted in the highest force magnitudes and net moments (p < .001) of the kneeling postures. Thigh-calf and heel-gluteus contact forces decreased the flexion moment on average by 48% during Squat and Near Full.

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Yuya Watanabe, Michiya Tanimoto, Akane Ohgane, Kiyoshi Sanada, Motohiko Miyachi and Naokata Ishii

The authors investigated the effects of low-intensity resistance training on muscle size and strength in older men and women. Thirty-five participants (age 59–76 yr) were randomly assigned to 2 groups and performed low-intensity (50% of 1-repetition maximum) knee-extension and -flexion exercises with either slow movement and tonic force generation (LST; 3-s eccentric, 3-s concentric, and 1-s isometric actions with no rest between repetitions) or normal speed (LN; 1-s concentric and 1-s eccentric actions with 1-s rests between repetitions) twice a week for 12 wk (2-wk preparation and 10-wk intervention). The LST significantly increased thigh-muscle thickness, as well as isometric knee-extension and -flexion strength. The LN significantly improved strength, but its hypertrophic effect was limited. These results indicate that even for older individuals, the LST can be an effective method for gaining muscle mass and strength.

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Ugo H. Buzzi and Beverly D. Ulrich

The purpose of this study was to examine the dynamic stability of two groups of children with different dynamic resources in changing contexts. The stability of the lower extremity segments of preadolescent children (8–10 years old) with and without Down syndrome (DS) was evaluated as children walked on a motorized treadmill at varying speeds. Tools from nonlinear dynamics, maximum Lyapunov exponent, and approximate entropy were used to assess the behavioral stability of segmental angular displacements of the thigh, shank, and foot. Our results suggest that children with DS show decreased dynamic stability during walking in all segments and that this might be a consequence of inherently different subsystem constraints between these groups. Differences between groups also varied, though not uniformly, with speed, suggesting that inherent differences could further constrain the behavioral response to changing task demands.

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Yukio Urabe, Mitsuo Ochi and Kiyoshi Onari

Objective:

To investigate changes in muscle strength in the lower extremity after ACL reconstruction.

Design:

Prospective case series.

Dependent Variables:

Isokinetic muscle strength measured in 6 movements (hip extension/flexion, hip adduction/abduction, knee extension/flexion) and circumference of the thigh/calf.

Setting:

Clinic and home.

Patients:

44 (24 men, 20 women) between the ages of 16 and 47 years with an ACL rupture. All underwent reconstruction via a semitendinosus autograft.

Main Outcome Measures:

The peak torque for each joint movement was recorded. Repeated-measures ANOVA and power analysis were conducted to detect significant interaction effects.

Results:

The decline of muscle strength after ACL reconstruction remained not only in the knee extensors and flexors but also in the hip adductors.

Conclusion:

Rehabilitation programs that address the behavioral patterns and physiological characteristics of an ACL injury will benefit the athlete’s whole body and lead to a full recovery.