Matching Participants for Triceps Surae Muscle Strength and Tendon Stiffness Does Not Eliminate Age-Related Differences in Mechanical Power Output During Jumping

Matthias Konig*, Svenja Hemmers, Gaspar Epro, Christopher McCrum, Thijs Maria Anne Ackermans, Ulrich Hartmann, Kiros Karamanidis

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Reductions in muscular power output and performance during multi-joint motor tasks with aging have often been associated with muscle weakness. This study aimed to examine if matching younger and middle-aged adults for triceps surae (TS) muscle strength and tendon stiffness eliminates age-related differences in muscular power production during drop jump. The maximal ankle plantar flexion moment and gastrocnemius medialis tendon stiffness of 29 middle-aged (40-67 years) and 26 younger (18-30 years) healthy physically active male adults were assessed during isometric voluntary ankle plantar flexion contractions using simultaneous dynamometry and ultrasonography. The elongation of the tendon during the loading phase was assessed by digitizing the myotendinous junction of the gastrocnemius medialis muscle. Eight younger (23 3 years) and eight middle-aged (54-7 years) adults from the larger subject pool were matched for TS muscle strength and tendon stiffness (plantar flexion moment young: 3.1 +/- 0.4 Nm/kg; middle-aged: 3.2 +/- 0.5 Nm/kg; tendon stiffness: 553 +/- 97 vs. 572 +/- 100 N/mm) and then performed series of drop jumps from different box heights (13, 23, 33, and 39 cm) onto a force plate (sampling frequency 1000 Hz). The matched young and middle-aged adults showed similar drop jump heights for all conditions (from lowest to highest box height: 18.0 +/- 3.7 vs. 19.7 +/- 4.8 cm; 22.6 + 4.2 vs. 22.9 +/- 4.9 cm; 24.8 +/- 3.8 vs. 23.5 +/- 4.9 cm; 25.2 +/- 6.2 vs. 22.7 +/- 5.0 cm). However, middle-aged adults showed longer ground contact times (on average 36%), lower vertical ground reaction forces (36%) and hence lower average mechanical power (from lowest to highest box height: 2266 563 vs. 1498 +/- 545 W; 3563 +/- 774 vs. 2222 +/- 320 W; 4360 +/- 658 vs. 2475 +/- 528 W; 5008 +/- 919 vs. 3034 +/- 435 W) independent of box height. Further, leg stiffness was lower (48%) in middle-aged compared to younger adults for all jumping conditions and

Original languageEnglish
Article number1345
Number of pages10
JournalFrontiers in physiology
Volume9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sep 2018

Keywords

  • leg stiffness
  • mechanical power
  • jumping
  • muscle strength
  • tendon stiffness
  • aging
  • motor control
  • LEG STIFFNESS
  • IN-VIVO
  • MORPHOLOGICAL PROPERTIES
  • LOWER-EXTREMITY
  • OLDER-ADULTS
  • MEN
  • WOMEN
  • PERFORMANCE
  • ACTIVATION
  • WALKING

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