In previous studies of rapid elbow movements in young healthy men, characteristic task-dependent changes in the patterns of muscle activation, when movement speed or distance was varied have been reported. In the present study, the authors investigated whether age or gender is associated with changes in the patterns of muscle activity previously reported in young men. Arm movements of 10 healthy older and 10 healthy younger participants (5 men and 5 women in each group) were studied. Surface electromyograms (EMGs) from agonist (biceps) and antagonist (triceps) muscles, kinematic and kinetic parameters, as well as anthropometric and strength measures were recorded. All 4 groups of participants showed similar task- (distance or speed) dependent changes in biphasic EMG activity. Similar modulation of the initial rate of rise of the EMG, integrated agonist and antagonist EMG activity, as well as their relative timing were observed in all 4 groups. Those results suggest that older individuals of both genders retain the control strategies for elbow movements used by young individuals. Despite the qualitative similarities in the patterns of muscle activation, the men moved more quickly than the women, and younger participants moved more quickly than older participants. Those performance differences could not be explained in terms of differences in body size and strength alone.
- Arm movements
- Motor control
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience