Document Type




Publication Date



American Physiological Society

Source Publication

Journal of Applied Physiology

Source ISSN



The mechanisms for the age-related increase in fatigability during high-velocity contractions in old and very old adults ({greater than or equal to}80 yrs) are unresolved. Moreover, whether the increased fatigability with advancing age and the underlying mechanisms differ between men and women are not known. The purpose of this study was to quantify the fatigability of knee extensor muscles and identify the mechanisms of fatigue in 30 young (22.6 {plus minus} 0.4 yrs; 15 men), 62 old (70.5 {plus minus} 0.7 yrs; 33 men), and 12 very old (86.0 {plus minus} 1.3 yrs; 6 men) men and women elicited by high-velocity concentric contractions. Participants performed 80 maximal velocity contractions (1 contraction per 3 s) with a load equivalent to 20% of the maximum voluntary isometric contraction. Voluntary activation and contractile properties were quantified before and immediately following exercise (<10 >s) using transcranial magnetic stimulation and electrical stimulation. Absolute mechanical power output was 97% and 217% higher in the young compared to old and very old adults, respectively. Fatigability (reductions in power) progressively increased across age groups, with a power loss of 17% in young, 31% in old, and 44% in very old adults. There were no sex differences in fatigability among any of the age groups. The age-related increase in power loss was strongly associated with changes in the involuntary twitch amplitude (r=0.75, P


Accepted version. Journal of Applied Physiology, Article in Press. DOI. © 2018, Journal of Applied Physiology. Used with permission.

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