Multiple joint muscle function with ageing: The force-velocity and power-velocity relationships in young and older men

Sarah J. Allison*, Katherine Brooke-Wavell, Jonathan P. Folland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Background and aims: Whilst extensive research has detailed the loss of muscle strength with ageing for isolated single joint actions, there has been little attention to power production during more functionally relevant multiple joint movements. The extent to which force or velocity are responsible for the loss in power with ageing is also equivocal. The aim of this study was to evaluate the contribution of force and velocity to the differences in power with age by comparing the force-velocity and power-velocity relationships in young and older men during a multiple joint leg press movement. Methods: Twenty-one older men (66 ± 3 years) and twenty-three young men (24 ± 2 years) completed a series of isometric (maximum and explosive) and dynamic contractions on a leg press dynamometer instrumented to record force and displacement. Results: The force-velocity relationship was lower for the older men as reflected by their 19 % lower maximum isometric strength (p < 0.001). Explosive isometric strength (peak rate of force development) was 21 % lower for the older men (p < 0.05) but was similar between groups when normalised to maximum strength (p = 0.58). The power-velocity relationship was lower for the older men as shown by reduced maximum power (-28 %, p < 0.001) and lower force (-20 %, p < 0.001) and velocity (-11 %, p < 0.05). Conclusions: Whilst force and velocity were lower in older men, the decrement in force was greater and therefore the major explanation for the attenuation of power during a functionally relevant multiple joint movement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-166
Number of pages8
JournalAging clinical and experimental research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2013
Externally publishedYes

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