The use of torque variability and slope measures to detect submaximal efforts has been studied in isometric tests, but not fully investigated in isokinetic tests. The purpose of this study was to investigate differences between maximal and submaximal efforts in isometric and isokinetic knee extension using torque variability and slope measures obtained from 32 volunteers (age = 25.2 ± 4.7 years). The coefficient of variation of average torque, coefficient of variation of peak torque, and slope to peak torque were obtained from maximal and submaximal torque curves during isometric and 2 isokinetic tests (60°/sec and 180°/sec). Significant differences between effort levels (maximal and submaximal were shown for all variables in isometric and isokinetic tests. An optimized cut-off value to determine submaximal efforts without false positives was determined for each variable. The coefficient of variation of average torque detected 75% of submaximal efforts at 180°/sec and slope to peak torque detected 63% of submaximal efforts at 60°/sec. For both speeds, combining the coefficient of variation of average torque with slope improved the submaximal detection rate to 84%. No variable provided a satisfactory detection rate for the isometric test. Therefore, submaximal isokinetic knee extensions are detectable with torque variability and slope measures, but submaximal isometric exercise is not detectable.
J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1996;24(1):19-24.
Key Words: muscle strength, knee, effort rating