This study compared the differences in neural and muscular mechanisms related to explosive torque in chronically strength-trained young and older men (>5 years). Fifty-four participants were allocated into four groups according to age and strength training level: older untrained (n=14; 65.6±2.9 years), older trained (n=12; 63.6±3.8 years), young untrained (n=14; 26.2±3.7 years), and young trained (n=14; 26.7±3.4 years). Knee extension isometric voluntary explosive torque (absolute and normalized as a percentage of maximal voluntary torque) was assessed at the beginning of the contraction (i.e., 50, 100, and 150 ms – T50, T100, and T150, respectively), and surface electromyogram (sEMG) amplitude (normalized as a percentage of sEMG recorded during maximal voluntary isometric contraction) at 0-50, 50-100, and 100-150 time windows. Supramaximal electrically-evoked T50 was assessed with octet trains delivered to the femoral nerve (8 pulses at 300 Hz). Voluntary T50, T100, and T150 were higher for trained than untrained in absolute (p<0.001) and normalized (p<0.030) terms, accompanied by higher sEMG at 0-50, 50-100, and 100-150 ms (p<0.001), and voluntary T50/octet T50 ratio for trained. Greater octet T50 was observed for the young trained (p<0.001) but not for the older trained (p=0.273) compared to their untrained counterparts. Age effect was observed for voluntary T50, T100, and T150 (p0.417). Chronically strength-trained young and older men presented a greater explosive torque than their untrained pairs. In young trained, the greater explosive performance was attributed to enhanced muscular and neural mechanisms, while in older trained to neural mechanisms only.
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