Revisiting the Force-Joint Angle Relationship After Eccentric Exercise

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Welsh, MC, Allen, DL, Batliner, ME, and Byrnes, WC. Revisiting the force-joint angle relationship after eccentric exercise. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000–000, 2015—The purpose of this study was to evaluate force-angle curve fitting techniques pre-eccentric exercise, quantify changes in curve characteristics postexercise, and examine the relationship between curve changes and markers of muscle damage. Fourteen males unaccustomed to eccentric exercise performed 60 eccentric muscle actions of the elbow flexors. Maximal voluntary isometric force was measured throughout a range of angles pre- (Pre1 and Pre2), immediately post (IP), and 1, 2, 4, and 7 days postexercise. Force-angle curves for each visit were constructed using second-order polynomials. Changes in curve characteristics (optimal angle, peak force, curve height), range of motion, soreness, and creatine kinase activity were quantified. Optimal joint angle and force at optimal angle were significantly correlated from Pre1 to Pre2 (ICC = 0.821 and 0.979, respectively). Optimal angle was significantly right shifted (p = 0.035) by 10.4 ± 12.9° from Pre2 to IP and was restored by 1 day post exercise. Interestingly, the r2 value for curve fit was significantly decreased (p < 0.001) from Pre2 (r2 = 0.896) to IP (r2 = 0.802) and 1 day post exercise (r2 = 0.750). Curve height was significantly decreased (39%) IP and restored to pre-exercise height by 4 days postexercise. There was no correlation between optimal angle or curve height and other damage markers. In conclusion, force-angle relationships can be accurately described using second-order polynomials. After eccentric exercise, the force-angle curve is flattened and shifted (downward and rightward), but these changes are not correlated to other markers of muscle damage. Changes in the force-angle relationship are multifaceted, but determining the physiological significance of these changes requires further investigation.

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