Effect of sex and fatigue on quiet standing and dynamic balance and lower extremity muscle stiffness

Mathew Hill, Katarzyna Rosicka, Maximilian Wdowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
44 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose The purpose of the present study was to determine whether there are sex differences in fatigue-induced changes in quiet standing and dynamic balance and establish whether changes in muscle torque and resting stiffness may explain the potential sex differences in balance responses. Methods Sixteen recreationally active men (age; 24.8 ± 5.0 years, height; 178.2 ± 5.6 cm, mass; 77.8 ± 13.2 kg) and 10 women (age; 21.0 ± 1.6 years, height; 167 ± 5.3 cm, mass; 61.3 ± 8.9 kg) were assessed for postural sway, Y balance test performance, isokinetic and isometric knee extensor torque and resting stiffness of the vastus lateralis (VL), gastrocnemius lateralis (GL) and Achilles tendon (AT) before and immediately after fatiguing exercise. The fatigue protocol consisted of five sets of 20-drop jumps. Results The fatiguing exercise elicited similar magnitude (effects size; ES) reductions in muscle torque (men; ES = 0.45–0.80, women; ES = 0.46–0.52), dynamic balance (men; ES = 0.45–0.74, women; ES = 0.47–0.79) and resting VL stiffness (men; ES = 0.46, women; ES = 0.36) in men and women (all p < 0.05). For quiet standing balance, fatigue induced an increase in postural sway metrics (ES = 0.64–1.28) and reduction in resting GL stiffness (ES = 0.40) in men (both p < 0.001) but not women (p > 0.05). Conclusion Fatiguing exercise, when producing a similar level of force reduction, induces similar magnitude reductions in dynamic postural control and resting VL stiffness in men and women. Distinct deteriorations in quiet standing balance in men but not women were accompanied by modifications in calf muscle stiffness following exercise-induced muscle fatigue.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-244
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number1
Early online date20 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00421-021-04831-0

Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


  • Balance
  • Gender
  • Muscle damage
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Muscle torque
  • Myotonometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of sex and fatigue on quiet standing and dynamic balance and lower extremity muscle stiffness'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this