Muscle strength and myoelectric activity in prepubertal and adult males and females

J Y Seger, A Thorstensson
European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology 1994, 69 (1): 81-7
The purpose of this investigation was to compare children and adults of both genders with respect to torque-velocity, electromyogram (EMG)-velocity and torque-EMG relationships during maximal voluntary knee extensor muscle actions. Four groups of ten subjects each were studied comprising 11-year-old girls and boys and female and male physical education students (22-35 years). Maximal voluntary eccentric (lengthening) and concentric (shortening) actions of the knee extensors were performed at the constant velocities of 45, 90 and 180 degrees.s-1. Average values for torque and EMG activity, recorded by surface electrodes from the quadriceps muscle, were taken for the mid 40 degrees of the 80 degrees range of motion. The overall shapes of the torque- and EMG-velocity relationships were similar for all four groups, showing effects of velocity under concentric (torque decrease and EMG increase) but not under eccentric conditions. Eccentric torques were always greater than velocity-matched concentric ones, whereas the eccentric EMG values were lower than the concentric ones at corresponding velocities. Torque output per unit EMG activity was clearly higher for eccentric than for concentric conditions and the difference was of similar magnitude for all groups. Thus, the torque-EMG-velocity relationships would appear to have been largely independent of gender and to be fully developed at a prepubertal age.

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