Skip to main content

Generality versus specificity: a comparison of dynamic and isometric measures of strength and speed-strength

Abstract

Considerable debate exists as to whether the qualities of muscle function exist as general or specific physiological capacities. If there is a generality of muscle function then strong relationships would exist between various measures of function for the same muscle(s), independent of the test contraction, mode or velocity. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between isometric and dynamic measures of muscle function to determine the existence of generality or specificity. A group of 22 men, experienced in weight training, were tested for lower and upper body dynamic and isometric measures of strength and speed-strength. The changes in these measures consequent to a resistance training programme were also investigated. The results of this study indicated that whilst isometric and dynamic measures of strength did significantly correlate (r=0.57-0.61), the relationship was below that required to denote statistical generality. More important, the changes in isometric and dynamic strength consequent to a dynamic heavy resistance training programme were unrelated (r=0.12-0.15). Thus the mechanisms that contribute to enhanced dynamic strength appearred unrelated to the mechanisms that contribute to enhanced isometric strength. Measures of dynamic and isometric speed-strength were unrelated, as were the changes in these measures resulting from training. The results of this study demonstrated that a generality of muscle function did not exist and that modality specific results were observed. Consequently this study calls into question the validity of isometric tests to monitor dynamically induced training adaptations.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Baratta R, Solomomow M, Zhou B, Letson D, Chuinard R, D'Ambrosia R (1988) Muscular co-activation. The role of the antagonist musculature in maintaining knee stability. Am J Sports Med 16:113–122

    Google Scholar 

  • Caldwell G, Jamison J, Lee S (1993) Amplitude and frequency measures of surface electromyography during dual task elbow torque production. Eur J Appl Physiol 66:349–356

    Google Scholar 

  • Clarke D, Clarke H (1970) Research processes in physical education, recreation and health. Prentice-Hall, Engelwood Cliffs, N.J., pp 370

    Google Scholar 

  • Costill D, Miller S, Myers W, Kehoc F, Hoffman W (1968) Relationship among selected tests of explosive strength and power. Res Q 39:785–787

    Google Scholar 

  • Draganich L, Jaeger R, Krajl A (1989) Coactivation of the hamstrings and quadriceps during extension of the knee. J Bone Joint Surg 71:1075–1081

    Google Scholar 

  • Duchateau J, Hainut K (1984) Isometric or dynamic training: differential effects on mechanical properties of a human muscle. J Appl Physiol Respir Environ Exerc Physiol 52:296–301

    Google Scholar 

  • Hakkinen K, Komi PV (1983) Electromyographic changes during strength training and detraining. Med Sci Sports Exerc 15:455–460

    Google Scholar 

  • Hakkinen K, Komi PV (1985) Changes in electrical and mechanical behaviour of leg extensor muscles during heavy resistance strength training. Scand J Sports Sci 7:55–64

    Google Scholar 

  • Hakkinen K, Alen M, Komi PV (1985a) Changes in isometric force- and relaxation-time, electromyographic and muscle fiber characteristics of human skeletal muscle during strength training and detraining. Acta Physiol Scand 125:573–583

    Google Scholar 

  • Hakkinen K, Alen M, Komi PV (1985b) Effects of explosive type strength training on isometric force- and relaxation-time, electromyographic and muscle fiber characteristics of leg extensor muscles. Acta Physiol Scand 125:587–600

    Google Scholar 

  • Henneman E, Clamann H, Gillies V, Skinner R (1974) Rank order of motoneurons within a pool: law of combination. Neurophysiology 37:1338–1349

    Google Scholar 

  • Hortobagyi T, LaChance P, Katch F (1987) Prediction of 1 repetition maximum using free weights for bench press and squat from maximum force and power measured during fast and slow speed hydraulic exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc 19: S88–363

    Google Scholar 

  • Hortobagyi T, Katch F, LaChance P (1989) Interrelationships among various measures of upper body strength assessed by different contraction modes. Eur J Appl Physiol 58:749–755

    Google Scholar 

  • Howard J, Enoka R (1987) Interlimb interactions during maximal efforts (abstract). Med Sci Sports Exerc 19:53

    Google Scholar 

  • Knapik J, Ramos M (1980) Isokinetic and isometric torque relationships in the human body.Arch Phys Med Rehabil 61:64–67

    Google Scholar 

  • Knuttgen E, Kraemer W (1987) Terminology and measurement in exercise performance. J Appl Sports Sci Res 1:1–10

    Google Scholar 

  • LaChance P, Hortobagyi T, Katch F, Janney C (1987) Effects of free weight and hydraulic resistance training evaluated by free weights and hydraulic and isokinetic tests. Med Sci Sports Exerc 19: S88–524

    Google Scholar 

  • Nakazawa K, Kawakami Y, Fukunaga T, Yano H, Miyashita M (1993) Differences in activation patterns in elbow flexor muscles during isometric, concentric and eccentric contractions. Eur J Appl Physiol 66:214–220

    Google Scholar 

  • Olson V, Smidt G, Johnston, R (1972) The maximum torque generated by the eccentric, isometric and concentric contractions of the hip abductor muscles. Phys Ther 52:149–157

    Google Scholar 

  • Osternig L, Bates B, James S (1977) Isokinetic and isometric torque force relationships. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 58:254–257

    Google Scholar 

  • Otis J (1976) Relationship of isometric and isokinetic torques. J Biomech 9:488

    Google Scholar 

  • Person R (1974) Rhythmic activity of a group of human motoneurons during voluntary contraction of a muscle. Electroencaphogr Clin Neurophysiol 36:585–595

    Google Scholar 

  • Rasch P (1957) Relationship between maximum isometric tension and maximum isotonic elbow flexion. Res Q 28:85

    Google Scholar 

  • Rutherford OM, Jones DA (1986) The role of learning and coordination in strength training. Eur J Appl Physiol 55:100–105

    Google Scholar 

  • Sale D, Norman R (1982) Testing strength and power. In: MacDougall J, Wenger H, Green H (eds) Physiological testing of the elite athlete. Mouvement Publications, Ithaca, N.Y., pp 734

    Google Scholar 

  • Sale D, Martin J, Moroz D (1992) Hypertrophy without increased isometric strength after weight training. Eur J Appl Physiol 64:51–55

    Google Scholar 

  • Sargent D (1924) The physical test of man. Am Phy Ed Rev 26:188–194

    Google Scholar 

  • Schmidtbleicher D, Buehrle M (1987) Neuronal adaptations and increase of cross-sectional area studying different strength training methods. In: Jonsson B (ed) Biomechanics X-B. Human Kinetics, Champagne, Ill., pp 615–620

    Google Scholar 

  • Stone M, O'Bryant H, Garhammer J (1981) A hypothetical model for strength training. J Sports Med 21:342–351

    Google Scholar 

  • Ter Haar Romeny B, Denier van der Gon J, Gilen C (1982) Changes in recruitment order of motor units in the human biceps muscle. Exp Neurol 78:360–368

    Google Scholar 

  • Ter Haar Romeny B, Denier van der Gon J, Gilen C (1984) Relation between location of a motor unit in the human biceps brachii and its critical firing levels for different tasks. Exp Neurol 85:631–650

    Google Scholar 

  • Thorstensson A, Hulten B, Karlsson J (1976) Effects of strength training on enzyme activities and fibre characteristics in human skeletal muscle. Acta Physiol Scand 96:392–398

    Google Scholar 

  • Wagman I, Pierce D, Burges R (1965) Propioceptive influence in volitional control of individual motor units. Nature 207:957–958

    Google Scholar 

  • Wilson G, Elliott B, Wood G (1991a) The effect on performance of imposing a delay during a stretch-shorten cycle movement. Med Sci Sports Exerc 23:363–370

    Google Scholar 

  • Wilson G, Wood G, Elliott B (1991b) The performance augmentation achieved from the use of the stretch-shorten cycle: The neuromuscular contribution. Aust J Sci Med Sport 23:97–101

    Google Scholar 

  • Wilson G, Elliott B, Wood G (1992) Stretch shorten cycle performance enhancement through flexibility training. Med Sci Sports Exerc 24:403–407

    Google Scholar 

  • Young W, Bilby G (1993) The effect of voluntary effort to influence speed of contraction on strength, muscular power and hypertrophy development. J Strength Cond Res 7:172–178

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Baker, D., Wilson, G. & Carlyon, B. Generality versus specificity: a comparison of dynamic and isometric measures of strength and speed-strength. Europ. J. Appl. Physiol. 68, 350–355 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00571456

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00571456

Key words

  • Muscle testing modalities
  • Strength training
  • Performance assessment
  • Rate of force development