Strength-velocity relationship and fatiguability of unilateral versus bilateral arm extension
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Strength-velocity relations and fatigue resistance in an arm bench press manoeuvre were compared between conditions of bilateral (BL, both arms acting together) and unilateral muscle contraction in 9 young men. BL and UL (sum of the 2 arms acting singly) strength was similar for isometric and slow isokinetic maximal voluntary contractions (MVC); at high velocities BL MVC declined more than UL. In both types of contractions a curvilinear relation was observed between strength and velocity, with significantly higher peak torques (PT) being produced under isometric conditions than for slow velocity efforts (p less than 0.01). Mean declines in PT during 100 repetitive MVCs of approximately 70s were to 25% of initial values for the BL fatigue test and to 37% for UL (p less than 0.01). In contrast to results of a similar investigation of leg extension in the same subjects, the arms showed no BL deficit of strength in the initial part of the strength-velocity curve and approximately twice as much fatigue in repetitive contractions. These physiological differences may stem from the varying habitual activity patterns of the arms and legs.
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