Influence of hamstring fatigue on the estimated percentage of fast-twitch muscle fibers for the vastus lateralis

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Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research






Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins

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A previous study has demonstrated the ability to roughly estimate the percentage of fast-twitch muscle fibers for the vastus lateralis through the analysis of peak torque values during fatiguing isokinetic testing. We examined whether use of the hamstrings influenced peak torque and electromyographic (EMG) responses for the quadriceps during fatiguing isokinetic muscle actions. On 2 separate occasions, 21 men (mean age = 23 years) performed 50 repeated, maximal concentric isokinetic muscle actions of the left leg extensors at a velocity of 180°·s−1. For 1 trial, the subjects maximally flexed the knee joint after each full extension to bring the dynamometer's lever arm back to the starting position. For the other trial, the subjects relaxed after each maximal extension and an investigator assisted in returning the lever arm. Surface EMG signals were detected from the vastus lateralis and biceps femoris throughout testing. Dependent variables that assessed the decline in peak torque and EMG mean frequency for the vastus lateralis were examined using dependent samples t-tests, effect size statistics, and the number of subjects who exceeded the minimal difference needed to be considered real. Our results showed small mean differences between the trials (Cohen's d ≤0.136). For the estimated percentage of fast-twitch fibers, none of the subjects showed a difference between trials that we considered meaningful. The mean estimated percentages of fast-twitch fibers were 61.6 and 60.1. Collectively, use of the hamstrings during fatiguing isokinetic testing of the quadriceps had little influence on peak torque and EMG.

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