Effect of Focus of Attention on Rate of Torque Development in the Knee Extensors Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/undergraduate_thesis_or_projects/w9505236p

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  • Background: The ability to produce rapid muscle force and joint torque is important for performance in sports, injury prevention and rehabilitation, and balance recovery. One way to measure rapid torque production is rate of torque development (RTD), which is the slope of the torque-time curve. Interventions aimed at increasing RTD are of interest. Adopting an external focus of attention, which is focused on one’s environment, has been found to enhance peak torque production compared to an internal focus of attention, which is focused on one’s bodily movements. However, the effects of focus of attention on RTD is unknown. Methods: Thirty participants evenly split between sexes (age = 22.1 ± 2.6 years, mass = 78.98 ± 11.71 kg, and height = 173.78 ± 11.00 cm) completed a minimum of three and a maximum of eight trials of maximal voluntary isometric contractions of the knee extensors under both external and internal focus conditions. External focus instructions were, “While looking straight ahead, try to push out as hard and fast as you can while focusing on the device arm.” Internal focus instructions were, “While looking straight ahead, try to push out as hard and fast as you can while focusing on the muscles on the front of your thigh.” Paired t-tests were used to compare the two conditions for both peak torque and RTD. Results: RTD was significantly greater during the external focus condition than during the internal focus condition (external focus 11.16 ± 4.98 N·m·kg-1·s-1 versus internal focus 9.92 ± 4.22 N·m·kg-1·s-1, p = 0.0248). There was no significant difference in peak torque between conditions (external focus 2.14 ± 0.60 N·m·kg-1 versus internal focus 2.08 ± 0.61 N·m·kg-1, p = 0.1887). Conclusion: An external focus of attention elicited a 12.4% greater RTD than the internal focus of attention. However, there was no difference in peak torque condition. This improved rapid torque production may be important in situations that require explosive movement, such as in sport performance and the prevention of injuries and falls.
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