RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN RUNNING ECONOMY AND MECHANICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF TRICEPS SURAE ASSESSED WITH TENSIOMYOGRAPHY: A PILOT STUDY
Tensiomyography (TMG) is a non-invasive technique commonly used for evaluating muscle properties in highly trained athletes. The aim of our study was to evaluate the mechanical characteristics of m. triceps surae in competitive runners through TMG measurement and analyze if there was a relationship with running economy (RE). Nine male runners completed the study (mean±SD: age 40.4±9.0 years, body height 176.2±4.9 cm, body mass 70.7±9.4 kg, 10-km time 39.8±5.9 min, VO2peak 56.9 ± 6.5 mL kg-1 min-1). Each subject visited the lab on two occasions with 72h of rest between the trials. On the first day, an incremental test was performed to determine their ventilatory thresholds and peak oxygen consumption. On the second day, RE was evaluated on a treadmill at the velocity of their first ventilatory threshold (VT1), and mechanical characteristics of the soleus and gastrocnemius muscles were analyzed with TMG. Significant differences were found between the economic and non-economic runners in m. soleus in delayed time (Td), contraction time (Tc), and maximal radial displacement of the muscle belly (Dm). Also, significant differences were found in contraction time (Tc) in medium calf (MC) and in half relaxation time (Tr) in lateral twin (LT). The main finding of our study was that the runners with better RE showed greater stiffness in the triceps surae muscles, an aspect that seems to be associated with better performance in athlete runners.
Key words: running economy (RE), tensiomyography (TMG), m. triceps surae, m. gastrocnemius, m. soleus
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