EXERCISE AND QUALITY OF LIFE
Research article
Volume 5, No. 1, 2013, 1-8
UDC 612.741:796-055.2
EFFECT OF MAXIMUM VOLUNTARY ISOMETRIC
CONTRACTION OF ANTAGONIST MUSCLES IN MAX
TORQUE AND RATE OF TORQUE DEVELOPMENT OF
AGONIST MUSCLES IN TRAINED AND UNTRAINED
WOMEN
Despoina Tserepi, Anastasia Papavasileioy, Chrystala Panteli,
Xenofontos Anthi, Eleni Bassa and Christos Kotzamanidis*
Laboratory of Coaching and Sport Performance
Department of Physical Education and Sport Science
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to compare the effect of antagonist maximum voluntary
isometric contraction on the torque and the rate of torque development of the agonist muscles in
ankle joint in trained and untrained women at 0° angle joint. Twelve untrained and twelve trained
women handball player participated in the study. An isokinetic dynamometer CYBEX Norm was
used for the evaluation of torque. Initially the Maximal Voluntary Isometric Contraction (MVIC)
both for plantar(PF) and dorsi flexors(DF) was evaluated. Afterwards the subjects performed 3
maximal isometric contractions of plantar flexor for 1 second, with 1 minute break between trials.
After 10 minutes complete rest, 3 consecutive maximal dorsiflexion contractions and immediately
after that three maximal PF contraction were performed for the evaluation of the reversal effect
DF on PF. The following parameters were evaluated before and after DF contraction:Plantar
flexion MVIC, Maximal Rate of Torque Development (MRTD), time of MRTD and the RTD
for the period 0-30, 0-50, 0-100 and 0-200 ms after the torque onset. The statistical analysis
showed that the reversal effect was presented only for the trained group for the MRTD and RTD
0-30. These results demonstrated that the existence of the reversal effect of the antagonists is not
appeared always in untrained groups and especially for the joint angle it is affected by the training
background only for selective parameters of muscle contraction.
Keywords: reversal of antagonists, trained, untrained, MVIC,RTD
* Corresponding author. Laboratory of Coaching and Sport Performance, Department of Physical Education and
Sport Science, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, University Campus, 541 24 Thessaloniki, Greece, e-mail:
kotzaman@phed.auth.gr
© 2013 Faculty of Sport and Physical Education, University of Novi Sad, Serbia
D. Tserepi et al.
Introduction
The Rate of Torque Development (RTD) shows the change of torque in time, from the
onset of torque to the time of appearance of the maximum isometric torque. These two parameters
can be affected both by motor neurons and muscular parameters (Andersen &Aagaard, 2006). It is
known that the relation between torque-speed and neuromuscular activity appear some differences,
depending from the angular position of the measured torque (Simoneau, Martin & Van Hoecke,
2007).
An interesting point for the RTD enhancement was the Golgi Tendon Organ (GTD)function
as stated by previous studies. Grabiner(1994) suggested that the RTD can be positively affected
during a maximal isometric contraction preceded by a contraction of the antagonist muscle.
This phenomenon is called Reversal of the Antagonist (REV). According to this phenomenon
the preactivation of antagonist muscles could probably causes better performance during the
contraction of agonist muscles. Kabat (1952), based on Sherrington’s concept (1947), introduced
the idea of REV, pretending that elementary reflexes interact to trigger a more complex process to
coordinate agonist and antagonist action. This could be the explanation about the relation between
REV and Golgi tendon organs (GTOs) function because when a muscle is contracted inhibits the
function of agonist muscle and facilitates the antagonist, through Ib afferent. The exact nature
of this mechanism has not experimentally been identified completed though several neuronal or
muscular mechanisms have also been proposed (Roy et al., 1990). Regarding the effect of REV
on muscle performance two cases have been analyzed: the peak torque and the RTD. Initially
the REV effect was tested in hemiparetic subjects where peak torque enhancement was observed
(Bohannon, 1985). However, this was not always the case for the healthy people, where in other
cases positive effect (Kamimura, 2007; Kamimura, et al 2009; Roy et al., 1990) while in others no
effect (Bohannon, Gibson, & Larkin, 1986) was reported.
Untill now the effect of the reversal was studied on two cases for strength and RTD
enhancement. The majority of cases reported an effect only on RTD and not for the maximal
torque (Gabriel, Basford, & An, 1997; Gabriel, Basford, & An, 2001; Kamimura, 2007). However
a recent study (Kamimura, Yoshioka, Ito, &Kusakabe, 2009) reported REV effect on maximal
torque. The explanation of their results was based on the fact that they used a contraction of the
one second instead of two seconds which the previous studies did,considering that GTO effect
lasts about one second.
Analyzing further the relevant literature it was revealed that the REV effect has not
extensively measured in joint angle and especially there was no comparison between trained and
untrained people. The last case is very important if it is considered that the possible higher values
of strength could cause a higher strain on GTO and consequently enhanced reversal effect.
For this reason the purpose of this study was the investigation of REV effect in angle join
and the differences which may exist between trained and untrained persons.
Method
Participants
The sample was consisted of 12 untrained and 12 trained handball women. Handball players
played in the first and second division of Greek championship while untrained were students of the
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Effect of MVIC in trained and untrained women
Department of Physical Education and Sport science. Anthropometric data are presented in table 1.
All participants were familiar with the testing protocol and they gave their written consent, having
been informed for the process. The experimental process was complied with the Ethics standards
provided by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
Table 1.
Anthropometric data of the participants
Group
Age (y)
Height (cm)
Body mass (Kg)
Trained
24,23 ± 31
1,68 ± 0,05
61 ± 6,11
Untrained
22,13 ± 1,84
1,73 ± 0,04
60,91 ± 7,94
Instrumentation
Dynamometry: The isokinetic dynamometer CYBEX Norm
(Lumex Corporation,
Ronkohoma, NY), according to manufacturing instructions regarding alignment of the specific
platform that has the dynamometer for the measurement of the ankle joint.
Experimental protocol
The experimental protocol was consisted of three stages. Participants in the first stage
performed 3 maximum isometric contractions of the plantar flexors for 1 second with 1 minute
rest period between them. They rested for 10 minutes off the machine and they performed the
second stage of the protocol. Participants in second stage performed 3 maximal 1 second maximal
dorsiflexion isometric contractions. In the third stage they performed maximal 1 second plantar
flexion for the evaluation of the REV.
Testing
For the MVIC both of plantar and dorsiflexors the participants performed 15-20 submaximal
isometric contractions with gradually increasing intensity with 3 minutes rest interval. Participants
were instructed to produce their maximal torque. Verbal motivation and visual feedback of the
torque output was provided during the tests. The highest torque value was marked on the monitor
and set as target to overcome for the rest trials. This procedure was repeated until the torque of the
three best trials was not less than the 95% of the best one. The trial with the highest torque value
was further analyzed and used as target value for the REV evaluation.All tests were performed on
the dominant foot, at supine position, with hips flexed at 60º. The knee was set at full extension
and the angle between the plantar surface of the foot and the tibia was set at 90º. The rotation
axis of the dynamometer was approximately aligned with the rotation axis of the ankle. Non-
elastic Velcro straps stabilized the foot on the platform and the subject’s trunk and thigh on the
dynamometer’s chair.
Height and body mass were measured using stadiometerand a digital scale respectively,
with subjects in light clothing and no shoes. Height and body mass were recorded to the nearest
0.1 cm and 0.1 kg, respectively(Sahaly, Vandewalle, Driss,& Monod, 2001).
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D. Tserepi et al.
Analysis of data
For RTD, torque onset was defined as the first point in time where torque reached 5 standard
deviations of its baseline.Afterwards the following parameters were analysed. The method of
calculating the rate of torque development was the following using Matlab package: Maximal
RTD,time to Maximal RTD and the RTD in the 30, 50, 100, and 200 ms Interval.
Statistical analysis.The program Statistica was used for the statistical analysis. As dependent
variables were defined: the values of maximum torque, the rate of torque development (RTD) and
the times in which appeared these variables.Following independent variables were used: the group
(trained-untrained), time of contraction, the angle measurement (0°) and the type of contraction
(isometric, only maximum or reversal). In the analysis of data the model of analysis of variance
was used: ANOVA for repeated measurements. The Tukey test was used for post-hoc analysis and
level of significance was set at p> 0.05.
Results
The comparison in MIVC revealed statistical significant differences in trained persons in
all conditions (p < 0.05), however no reversal effect was observed in both of the two groups (p >
0.05).
300
250
200
m
N
150
TRAINED
UNTRAINED
100
50
0
Max
Rev.1
Rev.2
Rev.3
Trials
Figure 1. Reversal Effect on MVIC
Statistical analysis showed a tendency for a reversal effect on MRTD however this effect
was not significant (p > 0.05). Higher values for MRTD was observed in all experimental conditions
in trained group but it was not statistically significant (p > 0.05)
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Effect of MVIC in trained and untrained women
1200
1000
800
c
e
S
/
600
m
N
TRAINED
400
UNTRAINED
200
0
Max
Rev.1
Rev.2
Rev.3
TRIALS
Figure 2. Reversal Effect on MRTD
The statistical analysis showed a reversal effect only for the trained group (p < 0.05). No
effect was observed for the untrained group.
300
250
200
c
e
s
150
M
TRAINED
100
UNTRAINED
50
0
Max
Rev.1
Rev.2
Rev.3
Trials
Figure 3. Reversal effect on the time for MRTD
The analysis of this parameter showed reversal effect only for the trained group (p < 0.05)
but not for the untrained one (p > 0.05). In all cases the values for the trained group were higher
for the untrained group (p < 0.05).
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D. Tserepi et al.
1400
1200
1000
c
e
800
S
/
m
600
TRAINED
N
UNTRAINED
400
200
0
Max
Rev.1
Rev.2
Rev.3
Trials
Figure 4. Reversal effect of RTD during the first 50msec of MIVC
For the 100 msec RTD no reversal effect was observed in both group (p > 0.05). A tendency
for enhancement and higher values in all cases was observed in trained group compared with
untrained one without being significant.
1200
1000
800
c
e
S
/
600
m
N
TRAINED
400
UNTRAINED
200
0
Max
Rev.1
Rev.2
Rev.3
Trials
Figure 5. Reversal effect on RTD during the first 100 msec of MIVC
No reversal effect was observed for both of the two groups for the RTD during the first 200
msec (p > 0.05). However the values of the trained group were higher compared to untrained one
but without been significant.
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Effect of MVIC in trained and untrained women
800
700
600
c
500
e
S
/
m400
N
TRAINED
300
UNTRAINED
200
100
0
Max
Rev.1
Rev.2
Rev.3
Trials
Figure 6. Reversal effect on RTD during the first 200 msec of MIVC
The statistical analysis showed that there are no statistically significant differences between
efforts and groups (trained-untrained).
Discussion
The obtained results indicate that REV did not affect in RTD but observed a statistically
significant difference in peak torque between the trained and untrained women. Regarding the
rate of torque development differences were found between the efforts but not between groups.
The effect of reversal on the torque are conflicting, since in other cases there was an increase
of output torque (Kamimura, 2007; Kamimuraet al., 2009), and in other cases not (Bohannon,
1985;Grabiner, 1994; Gabrielet al., 2001).
The differences in the results compared with those of previous research may be due:
• Using different protocols,
• Smaller sample compared with other investigators,
• Experiment on different samples.
However that found better results in the trained group, although not statistically significant,
they should trouble us so to see if the phenomenon of reversal of antagonists can be used to
implement new training protocols. The best results in the trained group probably due to the fact
that trained individuals have practiced to be fast energy transfer in myotendon system during a
movement. The detailed study of the phenomenon it is necessary to allow the understanding and
the further practical application.
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D. Tserepi et al.
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