Utility of peak torque and rate of torque development characteristics to identify walking performance ability in older women

Ty B. Palmer, Jarrod Blinch, Ahalee C. Farrow, Chinonye C. Agu-Udemba, Ethan A. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: It is unclear whether peak torque and rate of torque development (RTD) measurements can characterize functional differences in older adults according to their performance on a six-minute walk test. This study aimed to examine the efficacy of isometric peak torque and RTD characteristics of the knee extensors to differentiate between functional status in older women who are able (higher functioning) versus those who are unable (lower functioning) to walk 550 m in six minutes. Methods: Ten higher functioning (67±4 years) and 10 lower functioning (68±4 years) older women performed three isometric knee extension maximal voluntary contractions followed by a six-minute walk test. Peak torque and early (RTD100), late (RTD200), and maximum (Peak RTD) RTD measurements were obtained from each contraction. Results: The higher functioning group exhibited greater peak torque, Peak RTD, RTD100, and RTD200 compared to the lower functioning group (P≤0.011), with larger differences occurring for RTD characteristics (39.9-54.9%) than peak torque (20.3%). Multiple regression analysis indicated that RTD200 was the single best predictor of the distance covered during the six-minute walk test (R2=0.437, P=0.002). Conclusions: These findings suggest that knee extensor muscle strength, and in particular RTD, may be an effective discriminator and predictor of walking performance ability in older women.

Keywords

  • Contraction
  • Dynamometer
  • Isometric
  • Knee Extension
  • Rapid Strength

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