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The purpose of the present study was to examine the relationships between neuromuscular function and functional balance performance in firefighters. Fifty career firefighters (35.1±7.5yr) performed isometric leg extension and flexion muscle actions to examine peak torque (PT), and absolute (aTQ) and normalized (nTQ; %PT) rapid torque variables at 50, 100, 150, and 200ms. A performance index (PI) was determined from the functional balance assessment completion time. Partial correlations were used to examine the relationship between the PI and the maximal and rapid TQ variables for each muscle and the composite value, while controlling for demographic data related to the PI. Multiple regression analyses examined the relative contributions of the maximal and rapid aTQ variables, and demographic data on the PI. After controlling for age and %BF, the majority of the later aTQ and nTQ variables (100– 200ms) and PT were associated with the PI (r=−0.501–−0.315). Age, %BF, and aTQ100 explained 42– 50% of the variance in the PI. Lower rapid strength, increased age, and poorer body composition were related to worse performance during the functional balance assessment. Strategies to improve rapid strength and %BF, especially in aging firefighters may impact dynamic balance abilities in firefighters.
Mota, Jacob A., et al. “Relationships Between Neuromuscular Function and Functional Balance Performance in Firefighters.” Scientific Reports, vol. 8, 2018, pp. 1–8., doi:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-33555-z.