Influence of aging on the mechanical behavior of leg extensor muscles

  • Carmelo Bosco
  • Paavo V. Komi


Age dependence of the mechanical behavior of leg extensor muscle was investigated using vertical jumps with and without a stretch-shortening cycle on the force-platform. A total 226 subjects (113 females and 113 males) ranging in age from 4–73 years were examined. The results indicated in general that performance in males was better than that in females. This difference was reduced when body weight was taken into consideration. The peak performance of the various parameters, such as average force, height of rise of center of gravity, net impulse, and also the average power output, was reached in both sexes between the ages of 20 and 30 years. For example, the average vertical force in squatting had the following mean values in the various age groups of the male subjects: 114 N (4–6 years), 402 N (13–17), 618 N (18–28), 508 N (29–40), 435 N (41–49), 320 N (54–65), 315 N (71–73 years). When the jumps were performed using the stretch-shortening cycle, the potential of the mechanical performance after prestretching was also sensitive to aging in a similar manner. The results suggest that it is not only the performance of pure concentric contraction that is influenced by the maturation and aging processes but, the that elastic behavior of muscle and reflex potentiation are also affected by the same processes.

Key words

Muscle mechanics Stretch-shortening cycle Muscle elasticity Aging Power output 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carmelo Bosco
    • 1
  • Paavo V. Komi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biology of Physical ActivityUniversity of JyvÄskylÄJyvÄskylÄ 10Finland

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