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Knee Flexor Torque and Perceived Exertion: A Gender and Reliability Analysis


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: October 2003 - Volume 35 - Issue 10 - p 1720-1726
doi: 10.1249/01.MSS.0000089246.90005.47
APPLIED SCIENCES: Psychobiology and Behavioral Strategies

PINCIVERO, D. M., R. M. CAMPY, and A. J. COELHO. Knee Flexor Torque and Perceived Exertion: A Gender and Reliability Analysis. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 35, No. 10, pp. 1720–1726, 2003.

Purpose The objectives of the present study were to examine gender differences and between-day variability of isometric hamstring muscle peak torque and perceived exertion.

Methods Subjects included 20 healthy, college-aged male (N = 10) and female (N = 10) volunteers. Each subject completed five maximal voluntary isometric hamstring muscle contractions (MVC), in a prone position, with their knee at 30° flexion. Subjects then completed, in random order, isometric contractions at 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, and 90% of their three highest averaged MVC. Perceived exertion was measured with a modified Borg CR-10 scale after each contraction. Ten randomly chosen subjects were asked to return approximately 1 wk after the initial evaluation to repeat the same procedure. Peak hamstring muscle torque was examined in absolute (N·m), relative (N·m·kg−1), and allometric-scaled (N·m·kg−n) units. Perceived exertion across the contraction intensities was modeled to a power function in order to determine the exponent and proportionality constant.

Results Males generated significantly greater hamstring muscle torque than females in absolute, relative, and allometric-scaled units (P < 0.05). No significant differences in perceived exertion occurred across the submaximal contraction intensities between females and males, nor for the derived exponents and proportionality constants. Perceived exertion ratings were observed to be significantly lower (P < 0.05) across the contraction intensity range on the second day.

Conclusions The major findings demonstrated that perceived exertion did not differ between healthy young female and male adults, despite males generating significantly more hamstring muscle torque, and perceived exertion ratings decreased at similar relative contraction intensity levels across testing days.

1Human Performance and Fatigue Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology, The University of Toledo, Toledo, OH; and

2Department of Physical Education, Health and Recreation, Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA

Address for correspondence: Danny M. Pincivero, Ph.D., The University of Toledo, Department of Kinesiology, Mail Stop 201, Toledo, OH 43606; E-mail:

Submitted for publication January 2003.

Accepted for publication June 2003.

©2003The American College of Sports Medicine