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Kristian M. O’Connor, Carl Johnson and Lauren C. Benson

The function of the hamstrings in protecting the ACL is not fully understood. The purpose of this study was to determine how landing knee mechanics were affected by hamstrings fatigue, analyzed with principal components analysis (PCA). Knee joint mechanics were collected during single-leg stride landings that were followed by lateral and vertical jumps. An isokinetic fatigue protocol was employed to reduce hamstrings strength by 75% at the cessation of the exercise protocol. On the landing test day, participants performed the stride landing maneuvers before and after the fatigue protocol. PCA was performed on the landing knee joint angle, moment, and power waveforms, and MANOVAs were conducted on the retained PCs of each waveform (P < .05). On the strength test day, hamstrings strength recovery was assessed with an identical fatigue protocol followed by strength assessment ~75 s after the cessation of exercise. Pre- and postexercise hamstrings strength on this day was assessed with a dependent t test (P < .05). The hamstrings strength remained significantly reduced by ~8% postexercise (75 s). For stride landings followed by vertical jumps, there were significantly reduced knee flexion angles, extensor moments, and energy absorption. This was indicative of a stiffer landing strategy postfatigue, which has been associated with increased ACL loading.

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Christopher Thomas, Paul Comfort, Paul A. Jones and Thomas Dos’Santos

Purpose:

To investigate the relationships between maximal isometric strength, vertical jump (VJ), sprint speed, and change-of-direction speed (CoDS) in academy netball players and determine whether players who have high performance in isometric strength testing would demonstrate superior performance in VJ, sprint speed, and CoDS measures.

Method:

Twenty-six young female netball players (age 16.1 ± 1.2 y, height 173.9 ± 5.7 cm, body mass 66.0 ± 7.2 kg) from a regional netball academy performed isometric midthigh pull (IMTP), squat jumps (SJs), countermovement jumps (CMJs), 10-m sprints, and CoDS (505).

Results:

IMTP measures displayed moderate to strong correlations with sprint and CoDS performance (r = –.41 to –.66). The VJs, which included SJs and CMJs, demonstrated strong correlations with 10-m sprint times (r = –.60 to –.65; P < .01) and CoDS (r = –.60 to –.71; P = .01). Stronger players displayed significantly faster sprint (ES = 1.1–1.2) and CoDS times (ES = 1.2–1.7) and greater VJ height (ES = 0.9–1.0) than weaker players.

Conclusion:

The results of this study illustrate the importance of developing high levels of lower-body strength to enhance VJ, sprint, and CoDS performance in youth netball players, with stronger athletes demonstrating superior VJ, sprint, and CoDS performances.

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Jenni Kulmala, Tiia Ngandu, Satu Pajala, Jenni Lehtisalo, Esko Levälahti, Riitta Antikainen, Tiina Laatikainen, Heikki Oksa, Markku Peltonen, Rainer Rauramaa, Hilkka Soininen, Timo Strandberg, Jaakko Tuomilehto and Miia Kivipelto

Background:

Physical activity (PA) has beneficial effects on older age physical functioning, but longitudinal studies with follow-ups extending up to decades are few. We investigated the association between leisure-time PA (LTPA) and occupational PA (OPA) from early to late adulthood in relation to later life performance-based physical functioning.

Methods:

The study involved 1260 people aged 60 to 79 years who took part in assessments of physical functioning (Short Physical Performance Battery [SPPB] test, 10-m maximal walking test, and grip strength test). Participants’ data on earlier life LTPA/OPA (age range 25 to 74 years) were received from the previous studies (average follow-up 13.4 years). Logistic, linear, and censored regression models were used to assess the associations between LTPA/OPA earlier in life and subsequent physical functioning.

Results:

A high level of LTPA earlier in life was associated with a lower risk of having difficulties on the SPPB test (odds ratio [OR]: 0.37; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.24–0.58) and especially on the chair rise test (OR: 0.42; 95% CI, 0.27–0.64) in old age. Heavy manual work predicted difficulties on SPPB (OR: 1.91; 95% CI, 1.22–2.98) and the chair rise test (OR: 1.75; 95% CI, 1.14–2.69) and poorer walking speed (β = .10, P = .005).

Conclusions:

This study highlights the importance of LTPA on later life functioning, but also indicates the inverse effects that may be caused by heavy manual work.

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George J. Salem, Man-Ying Wang and Susan Sigward

In order to obtain joint-specific baseline strength characteristics in older adults, clinicians and researchers must have knowledge regarding the relative stability of the various strength tests (the strength difference between repeated measures) and the number of prebaseline practice sessions required to obtain consistent data. To address these needs, the relative multiple-test stability and reliability associated with lower extremity isokinetic and 1-repetition-maximum (1RM) strength measures were assessed in a sample of older adults (N = 30, 65.2 ± 6.3 years), over 4 weeks (T1-T4). Isokinetic ankle plantar-flexion (30°/s) strength and 1RM ankle plantar-flexion, leg-press, and knee-flexion strength exhibited poor stability between Weeks T1 and T2 but stabilized between Weeks T2 and T3 and Weeks T3 and T4. The measures exhibited low incidence of injury and induced low levels of residual muscle soreness. Findings suggest that the 1RM measures require at least 1 prebaseline training session in order to establish consistent baseline performance and are more reliable than isokinetic ankle plantar-flexion tests.

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Robert van Cingel, Gertjan Kleinrensink, Rob Stoeckart, Geert Aufdemkampe, Rob de Bie and Harm Kuipers

Objective:

To determine concentric shoulder external-internal rotator strength, dominant and non-dominant shoulder differences and agonist/antagonist ratios.

Design:

A transversal study of isokinetic dynamometry of healthy shoulders, 95% confidence intervals are presented.

Participants:

35 asymptomatic elite, male volleyball players.

Measurements:

Peak torque normalized for body weight was recorded at 60, 180, and 300°/sec. with a Cybex 6000 dynamometer.

Results:

(1) internal rotators were significantly stronger than external rotators of the same shoulder; (2) internal rotators of the dominant arm were significantly stronger than of the non-dominant arm; (3) no difference existed between external rotators of the dominant and the non-dominant arm; (4) external–internal rotator ratios of the dominant arm were significantly lower than of the non-dominant arm; and (5) no differences were found between the ratios of each arm separately.

Conclusions:

Data presented are important for interpreting isokinetic shoulder rotator strength tests in elite volleyball players and could be relevant in rehabilitation and prevention of shoulder injuries.

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Joe Nocera, Mack Rubley, William Holcomb and Mark Guadagnoli

Context:

There is limited information on the effects of throwing on shoulder proprioception and strength.

Objective:

Examine shoulder proprioception and strength following throwing.

Design:

2x3 mixed-subject design.

Setting:

Research laboratory and outdoor facility.

Participants:

23 male college students (age = 22 ± 2.9yr, ht = 178 ± 11.3cm, wt = 72 ± 7.7kg, 22 right-handed 1 left-handed).

Intervention:

Subjects were pretested for proprioception, measured by active reproduction of passive positioning (ARPP). Strength was quantified using 1RM and an average peak torque at 120º/sec for internal and external shoulder rotation. Following pretesting, subjects (excluding control) completed 75 throws at 75% maximum immediately followed by posttesting.

Main Outcome Measures:

Pre and post ARPP absolute error and strength changes.

Results:

Significant difference in the pre and posttest ARPP values for throwing groups but no difference for the control group. There was no significant difference from pre to post on the strength tests for any groups.

Conclusion:

Results indicate that repetitive throwing affects proprioception while not affecting strength.

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Rodrigo Antunes Lima, Lisbeth Runge Larsen, Anna Bugge and Lars Bo Andersen

Purpose: The current investigation aimed to investigate the longitudinal association between physical fitness and academic performance over 3 years in adolescents. A secondary aim was to determine to what extent waist circumference mediated the association between physical fitness and academic performance. Methods: For the current study, 1020 students from first grade [mean age: 7.87 (0.34) y] to fifth grade [mean age: 11.87 (0.37) y] were monitored annually for 3 years (2010–2013). Physical fitness was assessed using the Andersen test, 5 × 5-m shuttle run, jump height, and grip strength tests and by constructing a composite score combining all 4 fitness tests. Academic performance was assessed by national standardized tests in Danish language and math. Generalized structural equation modeling was used to evaluate the relationships between these variables. Results: The Andersen test (standardized β = 0.15 SD), shuttle run (β = −0.18 SD), jump height (β = 0.10 SD), and the fitness composite score (β = 0.23 SD) were positively associated with academic performance over 3 years. In addition, waist circumference partially mediated the association between physical fitness and academic performance. Conclusion: Thus, physical fitness abilities should be stimulated during childhood and early adolescence because of their positive association with academic performance.

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Gregory M. Gutierrez, Catherine Conte and Kristian Lightbourne

Head impacts are common in contact sports, but only recently has there been a rising awareness of the effects of subconcussive impacts in adolescent athletes. A better understanding of how to attenuate head impacts is needed and therefore, this study investigated the relationship between neck strength, impact, and neurocognitive function in an acute bout of soccer heading in a sample of female high school varsity soccer players. Seventeen participants completed the ImPACT neurocognitive test and had their isometric neck strength tested (flexion, extension, and bilateral flexion) before heading drills. Each participant was outfitted with custom headgear with timing switches and a three-dimensional accelerometer affixed to the back of the head, which allowed for measurement of impact during heading. Participants performed a series of 15 directional headers, including 5 forward, 5 left and 5 right headers in a random order, then completed the ImPACT test again. Neurocognitive tests revealed no significant changes following heading. However, there were statistically significant, moderate, negative correlations (r = −0.500:−0.757, p < .05) between neck strength and resultant header acceleration, indicating that those with weaker necks sustained greater impacts. This suggests neck strengthening may be an important component of any head injury prevention/reduction program.

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Stefan C. Garcia, Jeffrey J. Dueweke and Christopher L. Mendias

Context: Manual isometric muscle testing is a common clinical technique used to assess muscle strength. To provide the most accurate data for the test, the muscle being assessed should be at a length in which it produces maximum force. However, there is tremendous variability in the recommended positions and joint angles used to conduct these tests, with few apparent objective data used to position the joint such that muscle-force production is greatest. Objective: To use validated anatomically and biomechanically based musculoskeletal models to identify the optimal joint positions in which to perform manual isometric testing. Design: In silico analysis. Main outcome measure: The joint position which produces maximum muscle force for 49 major limb and trunk muscles. Results: The optimal joint position for performing a manual isometric test was determined. Conclusion: Using objective anatomical models that take into account the force-length properties of muscles, the authors identified joint positions in which net muscle-force production was predicted to be maximal. This data can help health care providers to better assess muscle function when manual isometric strength tests are performed.

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Khalid S. Almuzaini

The main purpose of the present study was to determine isokinetic strength and endurance, isometric strength, and anaerobic power for untrained healthy Saudi children and adolescents. The secondary purpose was to evaluate the effects of age in relation to anthropometric characteristics on strength and anaerobic performances. Forty-four (untrained) 11- to 19-year-old boys were grouped by age: 11-13 years, 14–16 years, and 17–19 years. All participants underwent anthropometric measurements, a flexibility test, a vertical jump test, a grip strength test, isokinetic strength measurements (Cybex Norm), and a Wingate anaerobic power test. Oneway ANOVA results indicated age-related increases in muscle strength and power. High correlation coefficients that were found among age and strength and anaerobic power indices almost disappeared when fat-free mass (FFM) was controlled for, indicating that the amount of variance in these indices that was explained by age is mostly shared by FFM. In addition, stepwise linear regression models indicated that FFM was the main predictor of strength and power performances. Thus, FFM was the best scaling variable for body size when comparing these age groups of Saudis. Until wide-range normal representative values for isokinetic strength and anaerobic power for Saudi children and adolescents are available, the present study’s results can serve as a reference for these indices.