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Muscle strength and stiffness of the calf muscle in healthy subjects of different ages.

Journal article
Authors Ulla Svantesson
Sofia Augustsson Ryman
Katharina S Sunnerhagen
Published in Gazzetta Medica Italiana Archivio per le Scienze Mediche
Volume 173
Issue 1-2
Pages 13-20
ISSN 0393-3660
Publication year 2014
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Department of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science
Pages 13-20
Language en
Keywords muscle strength, age groups, elasticity, MVC, plantar flexors
Subject categories Sport and Fitness Sciences, Orthopedics, Physiotherapy


Aim: The impact of aging on muscle performance is not fully understood. The purpose was to measure muscle strength and stiffness of the calf muscle in healthy subjects of different ages. Methods: Thirty-six men between 21 and 88 years participated. Maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) and active/passive stiffness were measured with an isokinetic dynamometer. During the stiffness test the calf muscle was stimulated tetanically and when a plateau of isometric tension was obtained, a short fast stretch (200˚/s) was given. Results: MVC, active and passive stiffness declined significantly with increasing age. Age correlated well with MVC (0.78), and passive stiffness (0.63). MVC correlated with active stiffness (0.61). Active stiffness was significantly influenced by MVC and age (r2 0.36). For passive stiffness (r2 0.36) age makes the strongest contribution. Conclusion: This investigation showed that age itself contributed to passive stiffness while muscle strength was more closely related to active stiffness and the contractile components of the muscle.

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