The effect of age and joint angle on the proportionality of extensor and flexor strength at the knee joint

H.H.C.M. Savelberg*, K. Meijer

*Corresponding author for this work

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Functional movements require concerted actions of monoarticular and biarticular agonists and antagonists. Understanding age-related changes of muscle function on performance requires insight in the contributions of different muscles to joint moments. Young and elderly participants performed isometric knee extensions and flexions at combinations of knee and hip joint angles. This approach allowed assessing changes in contribution of monoarticular and biarticular knee joint flexors and extensors. Reduced moments were found for elderly persons (flexors: -43%; extensors: -33%). In the flexor group, this reduction was mainly caused by retardation of the biarticular muscles; in the extensors, by reduced strength of the monoarticular muscles. This age-related reduction of joint moments occurred to be joint angle dependent for the extensors. In the flexor group, the reduction was almost invariant. Due to this difference in joint angle dependence, the proportionality between extensors and flexors varied over joint angles and differed with age. It has been discussed how this is related to changes in performances occurring with age.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1120-1128
JournalJournals of Gerontology Series A-Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004

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