European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 100, Issue 4, pp 427–436 | Cite as

Vertical jump performance after 90 days bed rest with and without flywheel resistive exercise, including a 180 days follow-up

  • Jörn Rittweger
  • Dieter Felsenberg
  • Constantinos Maganaris
  • José Luis Ferretti
Original Article


Muscle atrophy and neuromuscular de-conditioning occur in response to space flight and bed-rest. In this study, we investigated the efficacy of flywheel training to conserve jumping power and height during 90 days bed rest. Twenty-four young healthy men underwent strict bed-rest (−6° head down tilt) for 90 days. Eight participants were assigned to a flywheel group (FW) and 16 to a control group (Ctrl). The ground reaction force was measured during vertical jump tests twice during baseline data collection, and on day 4, 7, 14, 90 and 180 of recovery. In half of the participants, jump tests were also performed within minutes after re-ambulation and on four more occasions during the first 2 days of recovery. Jump height was reduced from 40.6 cm (SD 6.1 cm) during the first baseline measurement to 27.6 cm (SD 5.6 cm) on day 4 of recovery in Ctrl, but only from 38.6 cm (SD 3.9 cm) to 34.4 cm (SD 6.5 cm) in FW (P < 0.001). At the same time, peak power was reduced from 47.4 W/kg (SD 8.0 W/kg) to 34.5 W/kg in Ctrl, but only from 46.2 W/kg (6.0 W/kg) to 42.2 W/kg SD 4.6 W/kg) in FW (P < 0.001). Jump height and peak power were completely recovered after 163 and 140 days in Ctrl, respectively, and after 72 and 18 days in FW (regression analysis). In conclusion, flywheel exercise could effectively offset neuromuscular de-conditioning during bed-rest, and led to full recovery at an earlier stage. These findings nourish the hope that adequate training paradigms can fully sustain neuromuscular function under microgravity conditions.


Muscle atrophy Countermeasure Mechanography Microgravity LTBR 



The Long Term Bed Rest Study was carried out in 2001 and 2002 at MEDES, Toulouse/France and was organized by ESA and NASDA. Our participation in the study was supported by DLR (50 WB 0156). We express our gratitude to the staff at MEDES. All of them, but particularly Alain Maillet, Marie-Pierre Bareille, and les deux Pascales (Cabrole & Vasseur) have been delightful persons to work with on a daily basis. Per Tesch, Björn Alkner and Jean-Francois Grosset have done excellent work in providing and maintaining the facilities for the flywheel training. Even more credit has to be given to the study participants. Without their selfless contribution, this work would not have been possible.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jörn Rittweger
    • 1
  • Dieter Felsenberg
    • 2
  • Constantinos Maganaris
    • 1
  • José Luis Ferretti
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute for Biophysical and Clincial Research into Human MovementManchester Metropolitan UniversityAlsagerUK
  2. 2.Centre for Muscle and Bone ResearchCharité–University MedicineBerlinGermany
  3. 3.Centre for P-Ca++ MetabolismNational University of RosarioRosarioArgentina

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