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Eur J Appl Physiol. 2006 Feb;96(3):292-8. Epub 2005 Nov 10.

Power output, isometric strength and steadiness in the leg muscles of pre- and postmenopausal women; the effects of hormone replacement therapy.

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Division of Applied Biomedical Research School of Biomedical and Health Sciences, King's College London, Shepherd's House Guy's Campus, UK.


There are conflicting reports of the effects of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) on strength preservation in postmenopausal women, while any effect on power output has received little attention. Decreased steadiness of force generation has been reported in older muscles and may be related to the hormonal changes associated with the menopause, but the effect of HRT has not been investigated. We have studied the effect of HRT on strength, power output and isometric force steadiness in healthy women. Sixteen young (aged 27.4 +/- 1.4 years, mean +/- SEM) and 29 postmenopausal women were studied. Fifteen of the latter were taking HRT (68.1 +/- 1.4 years, HRT+) and 14 (70.5 +/- 1.5 years, HRT-) had never done so. During isometric quadriceps contractions the force steadiness (coefficient of variation of force) was measured at 10, 25, 50 and 100% maximum voluntary contraction (MVC). The average power generated by an explosive leg extension was recorded. The HRT- group generated less power (110.2 +/- 7.2 W) than both the HRT+ (136.5 +/- 10.9 W, P = 0.027) and young (136.2 +/- 5.8 W, P = 0.027) subjects. Power output was similar in the HRT+ and younger subjects. The HRT- subjects were weaker than the younger ones (241.3 +/- 14.0 N vs. 297.6 +/- 13 N, P = 0.006). The strength of the HRT+ group (255.5 +/- 14 N) was not significantly different to the other two groups. There was no difference in steadiness between the three groups at any of the force levels. HRT appears to maintain power output to a greater extent than isometric strength in postmenopausal women. There was no evidence for an effect of either age or HRT on isometric steadiness in the quadriceps.

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