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The influence of variable resistance moment arm on knee extensor performance

Abstract : To enhance muscular strength, resistance training machines with a cam, incorporating a variable resistance moment arm, are widely used. However, little information is available about the influence of the variable resistance moment arm on torque, velocity, and power during muscle contraction. To address this, a knee extensor machine was equipped with a cam or with a semi-circular pulley that imposed a variable or a constant resistance moment arm, respectively. Fourteen physically active men performed two full knee extensions against loads of 40-80 kg in both conditions. Participants developed significantly higher torque with the pulley than with the cam (P \textless 0.001). The relative differences between pulley and cam conditions across all loads ranged from 8.72% to 19.87% (P \textless 0.001). Average knee extension velocity was significantly higher in the cam condition than in the pulley condition. No differences were observed in average and peak power, except at 50 and 55 kg. Torque-velocity and power-velocity relationships were modified when the resistance moment arm was changed. In conclusion, whatever the link, namely cam or pulley, the participants produced similar power at each load. However, the torque-velocity and power-velocity relationships were different in the cam and pulley conditions. The results further suggest that the influence of the machine's mechanism on muscular performance has to be known when prescribing resistance exercises.
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Georges Dalleau, Bertrand Baron, Bruno Bonazzi, Pierre Leroyer, T. Verstraete, et al.. The influence of variable resistance moment arm on knee extensor performance. Journal of Sports Sciences, Taylor & Francis: SSH Journals, 2010, 28 (6), pp.657--665. ⟨10.1080/02640411003631976⟩. ⟨hal-01232338⟩

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