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Poor correlations between isometric tests and dynamic performance: relationship to muscle activation

  • Aron J. Murphy
  • Greg J. Wilson
Original Article

Abstract

The purpose of this research was to perform isometric tests at two joint angles and examine their relationship to dynamic performance. In addition, electromyograph data were collected from the triceps brachii and pectoralis major muscles to compare underlying neural characteristics between the isometric tests and dynamic movement. A group of 24 healthy male subjects performed two isometric tests in a bench press position, at elbow angles of 90 and 120°. From these data, the maximal force and rate of force development were determined. In addition, each subject performed a seated medicine ball throw as a measure of dynamic upper body performance. Correlations showed that isometric measurements of force (r = 0.47–0.55) and rate of force development (r = 0.08–0.31) were poor predictors of dynamic performance. The angle of isometric assessment had little effect on the relationship between the tests and measurements of performance. The myo-electric data was processed in terms of the integrated electromyogram and the Fourier transformed frequency spectrum. These data demonstrated differences in the neural activation patterns of the musculature, between the isometric 90° test and the medicine ball throw. The poor relationship between isometric tests and medicine ball performance was consequently, at least partially, attributed to differing motor unit activation patterns between isometric and dynamic movement. The results of this research strongly suggest that isometric tests have limited value when assessing dynamic upper body performance.

Key words

Upper body Muscle function Median frequency 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aron J. Murphy
    • 1
  • Greg J. Wilson
    • 1
  1. 1.The Centre for Exercise Science and Sport ManagementSouthern Cross UniversityLismoreAustralia

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