Gender Differences in Isometric Contractile Properties and Fatigability in Elderly Human Muscle
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This study had two purposes: to compare the isometric contractile characteristics and fatigability in the elbow flexors (EF) and ankle dorsiflexors (DF) in older males and females (60-80 years), and to determine the effects of almost 2 years of twice weekly dynamic weight-lifting training on these properties One hundred nine male and female subjects completed the 22-month intervention, 54 in the exercise group and 55 in the control group. Isometric contractile properties and fatigue characteristics were assessed at baseline, 10 months, and 22 months. At baseline, males were significantly stronger (p < .05) than females in evoked twitch torque (Pt) and maximal voluntary strength (MVC) in both EF and DF. Females exhibited significantly less fatigue (expressed either absolutely or relatively) than males in both Pt and MVC during a 3-min protocol of intermittent MVCs (5 s contraction; 2 s rest). There were no significant effects of the 22 months of dynamic training on either the isometric contractile properties or the fatigue characteristics, suggesting a very strong and persistent specificity of training effect.
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