The effects of high adiposity on concentric and eccentric muscle performance of upper and lower limb musculature in young and older adults

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The present study uniquely examined the influence of old age and adiposity on maximal concentric and eccentric torque and fatigue of the elbow (EF, EE) and knee (KF, KE) flexors and extensors. 40 males were recruited and categorised into young (n=21, 23.7±3.4) and old (n=19, 68.3±6.1) and then further into normal (young = 16.9±2.5%, old = 20.6±3.1%) and high adiposity (young = 28.9±5.0%, old = 31.3±4.2%) groups. Handgrip strength, sit-to-stand performance, and isokinetic assessments of peak torque at 60°, 120° and 180° s-1 were measured. Older men produced significantly less concentric and eccentric peak torque (P<0.016) but this was not influenced by adiposity (P>0.055). For KE and KF, high adiposity groups demonstrated reduced peak torque normalised to body mass (P<0.021), and muscle and contractile mode specific reduction in torque normalised to segmental lean mass. Eccentric fatigue resistance was unaffected by both age and adiposity (P>0.30) and perceived muscle soreness, measured up to 72 hours post, was only enhanced in the upper body of the young group following eccentric fatigue (P=0.009). Despite the impact of adiposity on skeletal muscle function being comparable between ages, these results suggest high adiposity will have greater impact on functional performance of older adults. Novelty: •Irrespective of age, high adiposity may negatively impact force to body mass ratio and muscle quality in a muscle and contractile mode specific manner. •Whilst the magnitude of adiposity effects is similar across ages, the impact for older adults will be more substantial given the age-related decline in muscle function.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1047-1057
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism
Issue number9
Early online date3 Mar 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Mar 2021

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  • Eccentric
  • Muscle function
  • Muscle quality
  • Torque

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Physiology (medical)


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