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Isokinetic Strength - Theory And Description Of Isokinetic Strength Measurement; Physical Strength Assessment In Ergonomics
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  • Description:
    The concept of isokinetic measurement of strength was originally related by Hislop and Perrine.(1)Characteristics of an isokinetic exertion are constant velocity throughout a predetermined range of motion. Strictly speaking, a means of speed control, and not a load in the usual sense, is applied in isokinetic exertions.(1)However, load and resistance are definitely present in this technique. In this case, the load is a result of the energy absorption process performed by the device to keep the exertion speed constant. The device prevents energy from being dissipated through acceleration in isokinetic exercise. The energy is instead converted into a resistive force, which varies in relation to the efficiency of the skeletal muscle. Since the speed of motion is held constant in isokinetic exercise, the resistance experienced during a contraction is equivalent to the force applied throughout the range of motion. For this reason, the technique of isokinetic exercise has sometimes been referred to as accommodating resistance exercise. This type of exercise allows the muscle to contract at its maximum capability a tall points throughout the range of motion. At the extremes of the range of motion of a joint, the muscle has the least mechanical advantage, and the resistance offered by the machine is correspondingly lower. Similarly, as the muscle reaches its optimal mechanical advantage, the resistance of the machine increases proportionally. It must be understood, however, that while isokinetic devices control the speed of the exertion, this does not assure a constant speed of muscle contraction. The speed of isokinetic contractions is constant during individual exertions; however, it is also possible to compare muscular performance over a wide range of isokinetic velocities. Increasing the isokinetic speed of contraction will place increasing demands on Type II muscle fibers (fast twitch and fast oxidative glycolytic). Workplace Assessment It is clear that isometric strength testing cannot substitute for dynamic strength assessment when examining highly dynamic occupational job demands. As most industrial work tasks contain a significant dynamic component, analysis of isokinetic strength capabilities appears to offer some advantage to isometric testing in this regard. However, it must be recognized that isokinetic devices are not entirely realistic compared with free dynamic lifting in which subjects may use rapid acceleration to gain a weight-lifting advantage.

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