Sex-Related Differences in The Accuracy of Estimating Target Force Using Percentages of Maximal Voluntary Isometric Contractions Versus Ratings of Perceived Exertion During Isometric Muscle Actions

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine sex-related differences in the accuracy of estimating actual target force and to compare the accuracy of estimating actual target force using percentages of maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) or ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) values during isometric leg flexion and leg extension muscle actions. Twenty adults, 10 women and 10 men, (mean ± SD age: 22.9 ± 2.9 yrs) completed pretest MVICs to calculate actual target force values at 10, 30, 50, 70, and 90% of MVIC. Additional trials were then randomized for estimating actual target force using percentages of MVIC or RPE values during isometric leg flexion or leg extension. For isometric leg flexion, the women and men overestimated (p≤0.05) the actual target force at 10% for the percentage of MVIC and RPE trial and underestimated the actual target force at 90% for the RPE trial. For isometric leg extension, the women overestimated the actual target force at 10% for the percentage of MVIC trial and RPE trial. The men overestimated actual target force at 10% and 30% for the percentage of MVIC trial and overestimated actual target force at 10% during the RPE trial for isometric leg extension. Also, the men underestimated actual target force at 90% for both the percentage of MVIC trial and RPE trial. Men require more familiarization than women to accurately estimate isometric leg extension force values. Caution should be used when estimating force production as a percentage of MVIC or RPE value for training prescriptions.

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