Early and late rapid torque characteristics and select physiological correlates in middle-aged and older males


Exercise Science and Sport Management

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© 2020 Public Library of Science. All rights reserved. Purpose The purpose of this study was to compare early and late rapid torque parameters of the plantar flexors (PFs) in middle-aged (MM) and older (OM) males, and determine the effect of normalization to peak torque (PT) and muscle cross-sectional area (CSA). Methods Twenty-nine healthy, MM (n = 14; 45 ± 2 yrs) and OM (n = 15; 65 ± 3 yrs) performed rapid, maximal isometric contractions of the PFs. PT, as well as rate of torque development and impulse during the early (0-50 ms; RTD0-50, IMP0-50) and late (100-200 ms; RTD100-200, IMP100-200) contraction phases were calculated. Torque at 50 (TQ50), 100 (TQ100), and 200 (TQ200) ms was also obtained. CSA and echo-intensity (EI) of the gastrocnemii were acquired via ultrasonography. Torque variables were normalized to PT and CSA. Rate of EMG rise (RER) for the medial gastrocnemius was calculated at 30, 50 and 75 ms. Results TQ100 (MM = 69.71 ± 16.85 vs. OM = 55.99 ± 18.54 Nm; p = 0.046), TQ200 (MM = 114.76 ± 26.79 vs. OM = 91.56 ± 28.10 Nm; p = 0.031), and IMP100-200 (MM = 4.79 ± 1.11 vs. OM = 3.83 ± 1.17 Nm·s; p = 0.032) were lower in OM. PT, TQ50, RTD0-50, IMP0-50, RTD100-200, RER, CSA, and EI were similar between groups (p > 0.05). No differences were found for normalized torque variables (p > 0.05). EI was moderately associated with normalized torque parameters only (r = -0.38 -0.45). RER, at 75 ms, was moderately correlated with early, absolute torque measures and rapid torque variables made relative to PT and CSA (r = 0.41 -0.64). Conclusion Late rapid torque parameters of the PFs were preferentially impaired in OM compared to MM, and PT as well as CSA appeared to mediate this result. Copyright: This is an open access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.

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