Gymnasts and non-athletes muscle activation and torque production at the ankle joint

Natália Batista Albuquerque Goulart, Caroline Pieta Dias, Fernando de Aguiar Lemos, Jeam Marcel Geremia, João Carlos Oliva, Marco Aurélio Vaz

Abstract


Artistic Gymnasts (AG) execute specific movements that require substantial movement control and force production at the ankle joint. This high demand might change the neuromechanical properties of the ankle joint muscles in these athletes compared to non-athlete girls (NAG). The aim of this study was to compare muscle activation and torque production at the ankle joint between AG and NAG. Ten AG (11.70 ± 1.06 years of age) and 10 NAG (11.70 ± 1.49 years of age) participated in the study. Electromyographic  (EMG) signals of medial gastrocnemius (MG), soleus (SO) and tibialis anterior (TA) were obtained simultaneously to the maximal isometric plantarflexion (PFT) and dorsiflexion (DFT) torques of the dominant limb during a maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) at five different joint angles (20°, 10°, 0°, -10° e -20°). Neuromuscular efficiency was also calculated by the Torque/EMG ratio. AG presented higher PFT (p<0.01) and smaller DFT (p<0.05) at all joint angles compared to NAG. RMS values from the three muscles were similar between groups (p>0.05). In addition, AG showed higher values for plantar flexion neuromuscular efficiency and smaller values of dorsiflexion neuromuscular efficiency compared to the NAG (p<0.01). Higher sports demands of AG determined higher PFT, higher plantar flexor efficiency, smaller DFT but similar activation of MG, SO and TA compared to NAG.


Keywords


Electromyography; Gymnastics; Torque; Training

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1590/1980-0037.2014v16n5p555

The abbreviated title of the journal is Rev. Bras. Cineantropom. Desempenho Hum, which should be used in bibliographies, footnotes and bibliographical references. E-ISSN 1980-0037, impressa ISSN 1415-8426, Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.