The purpose of the present study was to determine whether there are sex differences in fatigue-induced changes in quiet standing and dynamic balance and establish whether changes in muscle torque and resting stiffness may explain the potential sex differences in balance responses.
Sixteen recreationally active men (age; 24.8 ± 5.0 years, height; 178.2 ± 5.6 cm, mass; 77.8 ± 13.2 kg) and 10 women (age; 21.0 ± 1.6 years, height; 167 ± 5.3 cm, mass; 61.3 ± 8.9 kg) were assessed for postural sway, Y balance test performance, isokinetic and isometric knee extensor torque and resting stiffness of the vastus lateralis (VL), gastrocnemius lateralis (GL) and Achilles tendon (AT) before and immediately after fatiguing exercise. The fatigue protocol consisted of five sets of 20-drop jumps.
The fatiguing exercise elicited similar magnitude (effects size; ES) reductions in muscle torque (men; ES = 0.45–0.80, women; ES = 0.46–0.52), dynamic balance (men; ES = 0.45–0.74, women; ES = 0.47–0.79) and resting VL stiffness (men; ES = 0.46, women; ES = 0.36) in men and women (all p < 0.05). For quiet standing balance, fatigue induced an increase in postural sway metrics (ES = 0.64–1.28) and reduction in resting GL stiffness (ES = 0.40) in men (both p < 0.001) but not women (p > 0.05).
Fatiguing exercise, when producing a similar level of force reduction, induces similar magnitude reductions in dynamic postural control and resting VL stiffness in men and women. Distinct deteriorations in quiet standing balance in men but not women were accompanied by modifications in calf muscle stiffness following exercise-induced muscle fatigue.
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Analysis of variance
Centre of pressure
Coefficient of variation
International Physical Activity Questionnaire
Maximal voluntary contraction
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Hill, M., Rosicka, K. & Wdowski, M. Effect of sex and fatigue on quiet standing and dynamic balance and lower extremity muscle stiffness. Eur J Appl Physiol (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-021-04831-0
- Muscle fatigue
- Muscle damage
- Muscle torque