Electromyogram changes during sustained contraction after resistance training in women in their 3rd and 8th decades

A Macaluso, G De Vito, F Felici, M A Nimmo

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33 Citations (Scopus)


The present study aimed at investigating the neuromuscular adaptations to 6 weeks of resistance training in women in their third (6 experimental, 8 controls) and eighth decades (8 experimental, 8 controls). The surface electromyogram (sEMG) was measured from the biceps brachii muscle during constant-force isometric contractions lasting 12 s at 80% of maximal voluntary contraction (MVC). All the signals were analysed adopting in the time domain the root mean square (RMS) as a measure of amplitude and in the frequency domain the median frequency (MDF) of the power spectrum. Quantitative analysis was performed from the 3rd to the 6th second, to describe the early phase of the contraction ("Early"), starting from point at which 80% of the MVC was reached, and from the 9th to the 12th second, to describe the last part of the constant-force sustained contraction ("Late"). After training, the MVC increased by 22.4% in the young (P < 0.0001) and by 13.4% in the older (P < 0.05) women. The "Early" RMS increased by 60.4% with respect to the pre-training condition in the young (P < 0.01) but not in the older women. In contrast, the "Late" RMS increased by 46.7% in the older (P < 0.05) but not in the young women. The MDF remained unchanged in both groups. These results indicate that young and older women showed different training-induced adaptation of the motor unit (MU) activation pattern, in order to keep a constant level of force during a sustained isometric contraction at 80% of MVC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)418-24
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2000


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging
  • Algorithms
  • Electrodes
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Muscle, Skeletal
  • Physical Fitness


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