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J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2008 Jun;18(3):455-65. Epub 2006 Dec 29.

Voluntary activation of the triceps surae in prepubertal children.

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  • 1Département de Génie Biologique, UMR CNRS - 6600, Université de Technologie, F-60205, Compiègne cedex, France.


The activation capacities and neuromuscular efficiency (NME) of the triceps surae (TS) of prepubescent children (7-11 years) and adults were evaluated during submaximal and maximal (MVC) isometric plantarflexion to determine whether they varied with age. TS-EMG were obtained by summing-up the rectified electromyograms of the soleus and gastrocnemii muscles; these data were quantified using a sliding average method and normalized with reference to the TS maximal compound action potential (TS-M-wave). The maximal EMG increased significantly with age in the children, but less than MVC, what led to a significant increase in NME(Max) (MVC/TS-EMG(max) ratio). The EMG-torque relationship indicated an age-related overactivation of TS at low torque, what led to a lower NME(Sub-max) (inverse of the slope of the EMG-torque relationship) for the youngest children. The overactivation of TS was accompanied by contraction of the TA, which decreased with age. The youngest children were also less able to maintain a target torque and muscle activation. Finally, the twitch interpolated method revealed an age-dependant activation deficit. We conclude that central mechanisms are the main cause of the lower torques developed by children and they appear to vary with age in prepubertal children.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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