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Jihong Park, W. Matt Denning, Jordan D. Pitt, Devin Francom, J. Ty Hopkins and Matthew K. Seeley


Although knee pain is common, some facets of this pain are unclear. The independent effects (ie, independent from other knee injury or pathology) of knee pain on neural activation of lower-extremity muscles during landing and jumping have not been observed.


To investigate the independent effects of knee pain on lower-extremity muscle (gastrocnemius, vastus medialis, medial hamstrings, gluteus medius, and gluteus maximus) activation amplitude during landing and jumping, performed at 2 different intensities.


Laboratory-based, pretest, posttest, repeated-measures design, where all subjects performed both data-collection sessions.


Thirteen able-bodied subjects performed 2 different land and jump tasks (forward and lateral) under 2 different conditions (control and pain), at 2 different intensities (high and low). For the pain condition, experimental knee pain was induced via a hypertonic saline injection into the right infrapatellar fat pad. Functional linear models were used to evaluate the influence of experimental knee pain on muscle-activation amplitude throughout the 2 land and jump tasks.


Experimental knee pain independently altered activation for all of the observed muscles during various parts of the 2 different land and jump tasks. These activation alterations were not consistently influenced by task intensity.


Experimental knee pain alters activation amplitude of various lower-extremity muscles during landing and jumping. The nature of the alteration varies between muscles, intensities, and phases of the movement (ie, landing and jumping). Generally, experimental knee pain inhibits the gastrocnemius, medial hamstring, and gluteus medius during landing while independently increasing activation of the same muscles during jumping.

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Michael D. Ferrell, Robert L. Beach, Nikolaus M. Szeverenyi, Marlyn Krch and Bo Fernhall

Performance at one's highest personal level is often accompanied by a palpable, yet enigmatic sensation that many athletes refer to as the zone. Competitive athletes regularly acknowledge that their top performances are dependent on achieving a zone state of performance. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technologies were used in observing differing patterns of neural activation that occur among athletes during a hypnotically recalled zone-state performance of eight accomplished, competitive right-handed archers. These data were compared to each participant's respective fMRI data of a hypnotically assisted recall of a normal performance. Analysis of composite group data revealed significant (p = 0.05) neural activation of zone performance (ZP) over normal performance (NP), suggesting that performance in a zone state involves identifiable characteristics of neural processing. Perhaps this investigation might stimulate additional, more creative research in identifying a psychophysiological indicator of the zone phenomenon that would provide adequate justification for a training regimen providing a more reliable and sustained zone performance.

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Semyon Slobounov, Tao Wu and Mark Hallett

Human upright posture is a product of a complex dynamic system that relies on integration of input from multimodal sensory sources. Extensive research has explored the role of visual, vestibular, and somatosensory systems in the control of upright posture. However, the role of higher cognitive function in a participant’s assessment of postural stability has been less studied. In previous research, we showed specific neural activation patterns in EEG associated with recognition of unstable postures in young healthy participants. Similar EEG patterns have been recently observed in regulation of posture equilibrium in dynamic stances. This article evaluates participants’ postural stability in dynamic stances and neural activation patterns underlying visual recognition of unstable postures using event-related functional MRI (fMRI). Our results show that the “stable” participants were successful in recognition of unstable postures of a computer-animated body model and experienced egocentric motion. Successful recognition of unstable postures in these participants induces activation of distinct areas of the brain including bilateral parietal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, and bilateral cerebellum. In addition, significant activation is observed in basal ganglia (caudate nucleus and putamen) but only during perception of animated postures. Our findings suggest the existence of modality-specific distributed activation of brain areas responsible for detection of postural instability.

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Robert U. Newton, William J. Kraemer, Keijo Häkkinen, Brendan J. Humphries and Aron J. Murphy

The aim of this study was to investigate the kinematics, kinetics, and neural activation of the traditional bench press movement performed explosively and the explosive bench throw in which the barbell was projected from the hands. Seventeen male subjects completed three trials with a bar weight of 45% of the subject's previously determined 1RM. Performance was significantly higher during the throw movement compared to the press for average velocity, peak velocity, average force, average power, and peak power. Average muscle activity during the concentric phase for pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, triceps brachii, and biceps brachii was higher for the throw condition. It was concluded that performing traditional press movements rapidly with light loads does not create ideal loading conditions for the neuromuscular system with regard to explosive strength production, especially in the final stages of the movement, because ballistic weight loading conditions where the resistance was accelerated throughout the movement resulted in a greater velocity of movement, force output, and EMG activity.

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Kari L. Keskinen and Paavo V. Komi

The purpose of this study was to examine the differences in the relationships among the stroking characteristics between different phases of swimming exercises, and to determine whether these relationships would change in relation to enhanced swimming intensity. The experimental design consisted of the measurement of mean velocity (V), stroke rate (SR), stroke length (SL), and duration of different phases of a stroke cycle for each pool length in five to six 400-m swims and two 100-m swims. The results showed that the basic relationships among the stroke parameters during the test exercises were almost similar to those observed in competition. However, the relationships changed with enhanced swimming intensity. It is suggested that the degree of anaerobic lactacid metabolism may determine the characteristics of stroking while swimming. The reduction of SL above the lactate threshold would be connected to the accumulation of blood lactate, whereas SR would primarily be determined by the ability to maintain adequate neural activation.

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Akinori Nagano, Taku Komura and Senshi Fukashiro

The two goals of this study were (a) to evaluate the effects of the series elasticity of the muscle tendon complex on an explosive performance that allows a counter movement, and (b) to determine whether or not a counter movement is automatically generated in the optimal explosive activity, using computer simulation. A computer simulation model of the Hill-type muscle tendon complex, which is composed of a contractile element (CE) and a series elastic element (SEE), was constructed. The proximal end of the CE was affixed to a point in the gravitational field, and a massless supporting object was affixed to the distal end of the SEE. An inertia was held on the supporting object. The goal of the explosive activity was to maximize the height reached by the inertia. A variation of the SEE elasticity was examined within the natural range. The optimal pattern of neural activation input was sought through numerical optimization for each value of the SEE elasticity. Two major findings were obtained: (a) As the SEE elasticity increased, the maximal height reached by the inertia increased. This was primarily due to the enhanced force development of the CE. (b) A counter movement was automatically generated for all values of the SEE elasticity through the numerical optimization. It is suggested that it is beneficial to make a counter movement in order to reach a greater jump height, and the effect of making a counter movement increases as the elasticity of the muscle tendon complex increases.

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Keitaro Kubo, Toshihiro Ikebukuro, Hideaki Yata, Naoya Tsunoda and Hiroaki Kanehisa

The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of resistance training on muscle and tendon properties between knee extensors and plantar flexors in vivo. Twenty healthy young men voluntarily participated in this study. The subjects were randomly divided into two training groups: knee extension group (n = 10) and plantar flexion group (n = 10). They performed five sets of exercises with a 1-min rest between sets, which consisted of unilateral knee extension for the knee extension group and plantar flexion for the plantar flexion group at 80% of 1 repetition maximum with 10 repetitions per set (4 days/wk, 12 wk). Before and after training, muscle strength, neural activation level (by interpolated twitch), muscle volume (by magnetic resonance imaging), and tendon stiffness (by ultrasonography) were measured. There were no differences in the training-induced increases in muscle strength, activation level, muscle volume, and tendon stiffness between knee extensors and plantar flexors. These results suggested that if the used protocol of training (i.e., intensity, repetition, etc.) were the same, there were no differences in the training-induced changes in muscle and tendon properties between knee extensors and plantar flexors.

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Akinori Nagano, Senshi Fukashiro and Taku Komura

Contribution of series elasticity of the human mm. triceps surae in cyclic heel-raise exercise (similar to hopping but the feet do not leave the floor) was examined via computer modeling and simulation. A two-dimensional skeletal model of the human body was constructed. Upright posture was maintained throughout the simulation to prevent the model from falling. A mathematical representation of the mm. triceps surae was implemented in the skeletal model. The muscle was activated by the neural activation input signal with a time resolution of 0.050 sec. Cyclic heel-raise exercises of cycle duration ranging from 0.300 sec to 0.900 sec, corresponding to the motion frequency of 200 to 66.7 cycles/min, were generated using an optimization approach. The goal of the numerical optimization was to generate cyclic motions with as much range of motion as possible. As a result, realistic heel-raise motions were generated with the range of motion between 0.0023 m (cycle duration = 0.300 sec) and 0.0414 m (cycle duration = 0.900 sec). It was found that contribution of the series elasticity in positive mechanical work output of the muscle-tendon complex during the pushoff phase (from the lowest position to the termination of a cycle) increased as motion frequency increased (3% at 66.7 cycles/min to 47% at 200 cycles/min). Relatively higher muscle activation was found during the downward moving phase when the motion frequency was higher. These tendencies are consistent with the findings reported in preceding studies involving experimental animals as well as human participants. It is suggested that series elasticity plays an integral role in the generation of cyclic human motions.

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Jorg Teichmann, Edin K. Suwarganda, C. Martyn Beaven, Kim Hébert-Losier, Jin Wei Lee, Florencio Tenllado Vallejo, Philip Chun Foong Lew, Ramlan Abdul Aziz, Yeo Wee Kian and Dietmar Schmidtbleicher

Gollhoffer 6 were also able to demonstrate significant increases in RFD and enhanced neural activation after only 8 sensorimotor training sessions, supporting the contention that improved performance measures can be actualized with relatively few sessions of an UDP. Clear increases in countermovement jump

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Joerg Teichmann, Rachel Tan, Kim Hébert-Losier, Yeo Wee Kian, Shabana Jalal Din, Ananthi Subramaniam, Dietmar Schmidtbleicher and C. Martyn Beaven

: 0.71) and traditional rehabilitation groups (ES: 0.61) compared with the control group. These data coincide with Liu-Ambrose et al 17 who showed that proprioceptive training can have a significant impact on neural activation in the early stages of strength gain following ACL reconstruction. Phase 3