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Twitch potentiation during fatiguing exercise in the elderly: the effects of training


Twitch potentiation was studied during a fatigue paradigm involving intermittent maximum voluntary contractions (MVCs) of the tibialis anterior muscle in the elderly and in young adults. Resting twitch torques were similar between groups, but twitch potentiation was significantly greater (241% vs 166%) in the young; the recovery of the twitch after fatigue was similar between groups. Contraction time, time to peak torque and half-relaxation time were all significantly slower in the elderly. Following 12 weeks of resistance training in the elderly, there was no significant change in the twitch contractile properties at rest, but there was a significant main effect of training on the degree of twitch potentiation during the same fatigue protocol (peak potentiation 192% post-training vs 165% pre-training). These data suggest that the mechanism(s) responsible for twitch potentiation following MVCs may be influenced by both aging and training.

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Correspondence to Audrey L. Hicks.

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Hicks, A.L., Cupido, C.M., Martin, J. et al. Twitch potentiation during fatiguing exercise in the elderly: the effects of training. Eur J Appl Physiol 63, 278–281 (1991).

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Key words

  • Skeletal muscle
  • Twitch potentiation
  • Elderly
  • Training