Effects of electromyostimulation on knee extensors and flexors strength and steadiness in older adults

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Bezerra, P, Zhou, S, Crowley, Z, Davies, AT & Baglin, R 2011, 'Effects of electromyostimulation on knee extensors and flexors strength and steadiness in older adults', Journal of Motor Behavior, vol. 43, no. 5, pp. 413-421.

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It is known that electromyostimulation (EMS) alone or superimposed over voluntary contraction (EV) can effectively improve muscle strength. However, the effect of this type of training on the ability to control force production at submaximal levels is unknown. The authors examined the effects of EV training on steadiness in force production of knee extensors and flexors in older adults. Forty participants, including 20 men and 20 women, 60–77 years of age, were randomly allocated into a control group (CG) and an electromyostimulation superimposed over voluntary contraction (EVG) group. The EVG performed 30 bilateral isometric knee extension and flexion contractions per session, 3 training sessions per week, for 6 weeks. The variations in force production, expressed in absolute (standard deviation [SD]) and relative (coefficient of variation [CV]) terms, were assessed in isometric contractions at 5%, 15% and 25% maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) levels. Results indicated that MVC increased in knee extension and flexion in EVG (p < .05) after the training; steadiness CV also improved at 15% MVC in knee flexion (p < .05) but no significant changes were found in knee extension and steadiness SD. The training-induced changes in MVC were not correlated to steadiness CV that might indicate different mechanisms underlying these adaptations.

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