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Josu Gomez-Ezeiza, Jordan Santos-Concejero, Jon Torres-Unda, Brian Hanley and Nicholas Tam

electromyography, were found to be higher in race walking than in running. 15 However, the key factor that might facilitate a more efficient oxygen cost of transport is the timing of muscle activation during the gait cycle, 16 as preactivation of lower limb posterior musculature has been found to relate to the

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Cameron Mitchell, Rotem Cohen, Raffy Dotan, David Gabriel, Panagiota Klentrou and Bareket Falk

Previous studies in adults have demonstrated power athletes as having greater muscle force and muscle activation than nonathletes. Findings on endurance athletes are scarce and inconsistent. No comparable data on child athletes exist.

Purpose:

This study compared peak torque (Tq), peak rate of torque development (RTD), and rate of muscle activation (EMG rise, Q30), in isometric knee extension (KE) and fexion (KF), in pre- and early-pubertal power- and endurance-trained boys vs minimally active nonathletes.

Methods:

Nine gymnasts, 12 swimmers, and 18 nonathletes (7–12 y), performed fast, maximal isometric KE and KF. Values for Tq, RTD, electromechanical delay (EMD), and Q30 were calculated from averaged torque and surface EMG traces.

Results:

No group differences were observed in Tq, normalized for muscle cross-sectional area. The Tq-normalized KE RTD was highest in power athletes (6.2 ± 1.9, 4.7 ± 1.2, 5.0 ± 1.5 N·m·s–1, for power, endurance, and nonathletes, respectively), whereas no group differences were observed for KF. The KE Q30 was significantly greater in power athletes, both in absolute terms and relative to peak EMG amplitude (9.8 ± 7.0, 5.9 ± 4.2, 4.4 ± 2.2 mV·ms and 1.7 ± 0.8, 1.1 ± 0.6, 0.9 ± 0.5 (mV·ms)/(mV) for power, endurance, and nonathletes, respectively), with no group differences in KF. The KE EMD tended to be shorter (P = .07) in power athletes during KE (71.0 ± 24.1, 87.8 ± 18.0, 88.4 ± 27.8 ms, for power, endurance, and nonathletes), with no group differences in KF.

Conclusions:

Pre- and early-pubertal power athletes have enhanced rate of muscle activation in specifically trained muscles compared with controls or endurance athletes, suggesting that specific training can result in muscle activation-pattern changes before the onset of puberty.

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Bjørn Harald Olstad, Christoph Zinner, João Rocha Vaz, Jan M.H. Cabri and Per-Ludvik Kjendlie

Purpose:

To investigate the muscle-activation patterns and coactivation with the support of kinematics in some of the world’s best breaststrokers and identify performance discriminants related to national elites at maximal effort.

Methods:

Surface electromyography was collected in 8 muscles from 4 world-class (including 2 world champions) and 4 national elite breaststroke swimmers during a 25-m breaststroke at maximal effort.

Results:

World-class spent less time during the leg recovery (P = .043), began this phase with a smaller knee angle (154.6° vs 161.8°), and had a higher median velocity of 0.18 m/s during the leg glide than national elites. Compared with national elites, world-class swimmers showed a difference in the muscle-activation patterns for all 8 muscles. In the leg-propulsion phase, there was less triceps brachii activation (1 swimmer 6% vs median 23.0% [8.8]). In the leg-glide phase, there was activation in rectus femoris and gastrocnemius during the beginning of this phase (all world-class vs only 1 national elite) and a longer activation in pectoralis major (world champions 71% [0.5] vs 50.0 [4.3]) (propulsive phase of the arms). In the leg-recovery phase, there was more activation in biceps femoris (50.0% [15.0] vs 20.0% [14.0]) and a later and quicker activation in tibialis anterior (40.0% [7.8] vs 52.0% [6.0]). In the stroke cycle, there was no coactivation in tibialis anterior and gastrocnemius for world champions.

Conclusion:

These components are important performance discriminants. They can be used to improve muscle-activation patterns and kinematics through the different breaststroke phases. Furthermore, they can be used as focus points for teaching breaststroke to beginners.

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Marco Arkesteijn, Simon Jobson, James Hopker and Louis Passfield

Background:

Previous research has shown that cycling in a standing position reduces cycling economy compared with seated cycling. It is unknown whether the cycling intensity moderates the reduction in cycling economy while standing.

Purpose:

The aim was to determine whether the negative effect of standing on cycling economy would be decreased at a higher intensity.

Methods:

Ten cyclists cycled in 8 different conditions. Each condition was either at an intensity of 50% or 70% of maximal aerobic power at a gradient of 4% or 8% and in the seated or standing cycling position. Cycling economy and muscle activation level of 8 leg muscles were recorded.

Results:

There was an interaction between cycling intensity and position for cycling economy (P = .03), the overall activation of the leg muscles (P = .02), and the activation of the lower leg muscles (P = .05). The interaction showed decreased cycling economy when standing compared with seated cycling, but the difference was reduced at higher intensity. The overall activation of the leg muscles and the lower leg muscles, respectively, increased and decreased, but the differences between standing and seated cycling were reduced at higher intensity.

Conclusions:

Cycling economy was lower during standing cycling than seated cycling, but the difference in economy diminishes when cycling intensity increases. Activation of the lower leg muscles did not explain the lower cycling economy while standing. The increased overall activation, therefore, suggests that increased activation of the upper leg muscles explains part of the lower cycling economy while standing.

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Federico Quinzi, Valentina Camomilla, Alberto Di Mario, Francesco Felici and Paola Sbriccoli

Purpose:

Training in martial arts is commonly performed by repeating a technical action continuously for a given number of times. This study aimed to investigate if the repetition of the task alters the proper technical execution, limiting the training efficacy for the technical evaluation during competition. This aim was pursued analyzing lower-limb kinematics and muscle activation during repeated roundhouse kicks.

Methods:

Six junior karate practitioners performed continuously 20 repetitions of the kick. Hip and knee kinematics and sEMG of vastus lateralis, biceps (BF), and rectus femoris were recorded. For each repetition, hip abduction–adduction and flexion–extension and knee flexion–extension peak angular displacements and velocities, agonist and antagonist muscle activation were computed. Moreover, to monitor for the presence of myoelectric fatigue, if any, the median frequency of the sEMG was computed. All variables were normalized with respect to their individual maximum observed during the sequence of kicks. Linear regressions were fitted to each normalized parameter to test its relationship with the repetition number.

Results:

Linear-regression analysis showed that, during the sequence, the athletes modified their technique: Knee flexion, BF median frequency, hip abduction, knee-extension angular velocity, and BF antagonist activation significantly decreased. Conversely, hip flexion increased significantly.

Conclusions:

Since karate combat competitions require proper technical execution, training protocols combining severe fatigue and technical actions should be carefully proposed because of technique adaptations. Moreover, trainers and karate masters should consider including specific strength exercises for the BF and more generally for knee flexors.

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Fábio J. Lanferdini, Rodrigo R. Bini, Bruno M. Baroni, Kelli D. Klein, Felipe P. Carpes and Marco A. Vaz

overdose per irradiated area. 30 Additional studies are necessary to elucidate the optimal dosage for different muscle groups, populations, and exercise types. Any potential effects from LLLT dose could reflect on high- and low-frequency components of lower-limb muscle activation in cycling, given those

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Michael E. Hales and John D. Johnson II

-1936) was performed in each quadrant of the test areas prior to data collection (Figure  1 ). Baseline Measurement Protocols For muscle activation, an MVC protocol established baseline measures of the selected lower extremity muscles. EMG values were expressed as a percentage of amplitude from the MVC

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Jeni R. McNeal, William A. Sands and Michael H. Stone

Purpose:

The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of a maximal repeated-jumps task on force production, muscle activation and kinematics, and to determine if changes in performance were dependent on gender.

Methods:

Eleven male and nine female athletes performed continuous countermovement jumps for 60 s on a force platform while muscle activation was assessed using surface electromyography. Performances were videotaped and digitized (60 Hz). Data were averaged across three jumps in 10-s intervals from the initial jump to the final 10 s of the test.

Results:

No interaction between time and gender was evident for any variable; therefore, all results represent data collapsed across gender. Preactivation magnitude decreased across time periods for anterior tibialis (AT, P < .001), gastrocnemius (GAS, P < .001) and biceps femoris (BF, P = .03), but not for vastus lateralis (VL, P = .16). Muscle activation during ground contact did not change across time for BF; however, VL, G, and AT showed significant reductions (all P < .001). Peak force was reduced at 40 s compared with the initial jumps, and continued to be reduced at 50 and 60 s (all P < .05). The time from peak force to takeoff was greater at 50 and 60 s compared with the initial jumps (P < .05). Both knee fexion and ankle dorsifexion were reduced across time (both P < .001), whereas no change in relative hip angle was evident (P = .10). Absolute angle of the trunk increased with time (P < .001), whereas the absolute angle of the shank decreased (P < .001).

Conclusions:

In response to the fatiguing task, subjects reduced muscle activation and force production and altered jumping technique; however, these changes were not dependent on gender.

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Jack M. Burns, Jeremiah J. Peiffer, Chris R. Abbiss, Greig Watson, Angus Burnett and Paul B. Laursen

Purpose:

Manufacturers of uncoupled cycling cranks claim that their use will increase economy of motion and gross efficiency. Purportedly, this occurs by altering the muscle-recruitment patterns contributing to the resistive forces occurring during the recovery phase of the pedal stroke. Uncoupled cranks use an independent-clutch design by which each leg cycles independently of the other (ie, the cranks are not fixed together). However, research examining the efficacy of training with uncoupled cranks is equivocal. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of short-term training with uncoupled cranks on the performance-related variables economy of motion, gross efficiency, maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), and muscle-activation patterns.

Methods:

Sixteen trained cyclists were matched-paired into either an uncoupled-crank or a normal-crank training group. Both groups performed 5 wk of training on their assigned cranks. Before and after training, participants completed a graded exercise test using normal cranks. Expired gases were collected to determine economy of motion, gross efficiency, and VO2max, while integrated electromyography (iEMG) was used to examine muscle-activation patterns of the vastus lateralis, biceps femoris, and gastrocnemius.

Results:

No significant changes between groups were observed for economy of motion, gross efficiency, VO2max, or iEMG in the uncoupled- or normal-crank group.

Conclusions:

Five weeks of training with uncoupled cycling cranks had no effect on economy of motion, gross efficiency, muscle recruitment, or VO2max compared with training on normal cranks.

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Sabine Felser, Martin Behrens, Susanne Fischer, Mario Baeumler, Ralf Salomon and Sven Bruhn

Purpose:

To investigate differences in muscle activation of both legs between the straight and the curve and changes in muscle activity during a 1000-m time trial (TT) and their relationship to the change in skating velocity in 9 young short-track speed skaters. The authors recorded skating times and EMG data from different leg muscles during maximum-effort skating trials on the straight and in the curve, as well as during a 1000-m TT.

Results:

Muscle activation differs between the straight and the curves and between legs; ie, average activities of selected muscles of the right leg were significantly higher during skating through the curves than in the straights. This could not be observed for the left leg. The reduction in speed during the 1000-m TT highly correlates with the decrease in the muscle activity of both the tibialis anterior and the rectus femoris of the right leg. Muscle recruitment is different in relation to lap section (straight vs curve) and leg (right vs left leg). The decreased muscle activity of the tibialis anterior and rectus femoris of the right leg showed the highest relationships with the reduction in skating speed during the 1000-m TT.