Neuromuscular responses of the plantar flexors to whole-body vibration.

Author: Harwood B1, Scherer J2, Brown RE3, Cornett KM1, Kenno KA2, Jakobi JM1
1Health and Exercise Science, University of British Columbia Okanagan, Kelowna, BC, Canada.
2Human Kinetics, University of Windsor, Windsor, ON, Canada.
3Health and Exercise Science, York University, North York, ON, Canada.
Conference/Journal: Scand J Med Sci Sports.
Date published: 2016 Dec 29
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1111/sms.12803. [Epub ahead of print] , Word Count: 229

Enhanced physical performance following whole-body vibration (WBV) has been attributed to increased muscle activity; however, few studies have measured the mechanisms underlying these changes. The objective of this study was to measure the responsiveness of the Ia pathway as well as contractile properties in 16 young adults (24±2 years, eight men, eight women) following repeated bouts of acute WBV (45 Hz, 2 mm). Hoffman reflexes (H-reflex), compound muscle action potentials (M-wave), and twitch contractile properties were measured prior to and immediately following five 1-minute WBV exposures, and at 3, 5, 10, and 20 minute post-WBV. M-wave and H-reflex amplitudes decreased by 8% (P<.001) and by 46% (P<.05), respectively, whereas peak twitch torque decreased by 9% (P<.01) and rate of twitch torque development slowed 8% (P<.05). Percent voluntary activation and maximal plantar flexor torque were unchanged as a consequence of WBV (P>.05). In response to acute WBV, the root mean square of the soleus electromyography signal (EMGRMS ) increased by 8%, while the EMGRMS of the lateral gastrocnemius increased by 3% (P<.05). These data indicate that the responsiveness of the Ia pathway is diminished and contractile function is impaired immediately following WBV, and that the neural mechanisms underlying improved performance following WBV lie in alternative hypotheses possibly involving spindle disfacilitation or Golgi afferent modulation.

© 2016 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

KEYWORDS: Hoffman's reflex; contractile properties; gastrocnemius; monosynaptic; soleus; twitch

PMID: 28033657 DOI: 10.1111/sms.12803