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Relationships Between Muscle Strength and Indices of Muscle Cross-Sectional Area Determined During Maximal Voluntary Contraction in Middle-Aged and Elderly Individuals

Akagi, Ryota1,2; Takai, Yohei1; Kato, Emika1,2; Fukuda, Makoto1; Wakahara, Taku3; Ohta, Megumi4; Kanehisa, Hiroaki5; Kawakami, Yasuo3; Fukunaga, Tetsuo6

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: July 2009 - Volume 23 - Issue 4 - p 1258-1262
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181918a9b
Original Research

Akagi, R, Takai, Y, Kato, E, Fukuda, M, Wakahara, T, Ohta, M, Kanehisa, H, Kawakami, Y, and Fukunaga, T. Relationships between muscle strength and indices of muscle cross-sectional area determined during maximal voluntary contraction in middle-aged and elderly individuals. J Strength Cond Res 23(4): 1258-1262, 2009-The present study examined how muscle cross-sectional area (CSA) indices determined at rest and during maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) are related to muscle strength in middle-aged and elderly individuals (22 men and 36 women, 51-77 years). The muscle thickness (MT) of elbow flexors and circumference (C) at the level 60% distal to the upper arm was measured by ultrasonography and a measuring tape, respectively, both at rest and during isometric MVC of elbow flexion. The muscle strength (F) of elbow flexors was calculated by dividing the torque developed during MVC by the forearm length of each subject. The product of MT and C (MT×C) and the square of MT (MT2) were defined as the muscle CSA indices. The F was significantly correlated with MT×C during MVC (r = 0.905, p ≤ 0.001) and at rest (r = 0.778, p ≤ 0.001), with the former relationship significantly stronger than the latter (p ≤ 0.001). Similarly, F was significantly correlated with MT2 both during MVC (r = 0.896, p ≤ 0.001) and at rest (r = 0.780, p ≤ 0.001), and there was also a significant difference between the correlation coefficients (p ≤ 0.01). These findings show that, in middle-aged and elderly individuals, muscle strength is more closely related to muscle CSA indices during MVC than at rest. It is concluded that the present muscle CSA indices taken during MVC enable easy and practical evaluation of the muscle strength per size of elbow flexors in middle-aged and elderly individuals.

1Graduate School of Sport Sciences, Waseda University, Saitama, Japan; 2Research Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Tokyo, Japan; 3Faculty of Sport Sciences, Waseda University, Saitama, Japan; 4Faculty of Human Sciences, Kanazawa Seiryo University, Ishikawa, Japan; 5Department of Life Sciences (Sport Sciences), Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan; and 6National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Kanoya, Kagoshima, Japan

Address correspondence to Ryota Akagi,

© 2009 National Strength and Conditioning Association