Strength training in old age: Adaptation of antagonist muscles at the ankle joint

Authors

  • Emilie Simoneau MS,

    Corresponding author
    1. Equipe INSERM-ERM 207 Motricité-Plasticité, Faculté des Sciences du Sport, Université de Bourgogne, BP 27877, 21078 Dijon, France
    • Equipe INSERM-ERM 207 Motricité-Plasticité, Faculté des Sciences du Sport, Université de Bourgogne, BP 27877, 21078 Dijon, France
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  • Alain Martin PhD,

    1. Equipe INSERM-ERM 207 Motricité-Plasticité, Faculté des Sciences du Sport, Université de Bourgogne, BP 27877, 21078 Dijon, France
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  • Michelle M. Porter PhD,

    1. Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation Studies, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
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  • Jacques Van Hoecke PhD

    1. Equipe INSERM-ERM 207 Motricité-Plasticité, Faculté des Sciences du Sport, Université de Bourgogne, BP 27877, 21078 Dijon, France
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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine whether strength training could reduce the deficit in plantarflexion (PF) maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) torque observed in previous studies in older subjects relative to young adults. Accordingly, the effects of a 6-month strength training program on the muscle and neural properties of the major muscle groups around the ankle were examined. PF and dorsiflexion (DF) isometric MVC torques were measured and surface electromyographic activity of the triceps surae and tibialis anterior muscles was recorded. The strength training program was very effective in improving strength in PF (+24.5%), and it thus reduced the DF-to-PF MVC torque ratio; in addition, it also induced gains in DF (+7.6%). Thus, there must be an improvement in ankle joint stability. In PF, gains were due particularly to a modification of the agonist neural drive; in DF, the gains appeared to be the consequence of a reduction in antagonist coactivation. Our findings indicate that the investigation of one muscle group should always be accompanied by examination of its antagonist muscle group. Muscle Nerve, 2005

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