Strength & weakness


Training pays off…even for the untrained hand 2

Training improves task performance due to improved motor control through practice. Intriguingly, training with one limb can improve task performance with the other, untrained limb. This phenomenon is known as interlimb transfer or cross education, and it is important for rehabilitation when the most affected limb cannot engage in training […]


Training for muscle endurance after stroke

Previous research supports the use of resistance training as a safe and effective exercise intervention for disabled stroke patients (Lee et al. 2010; Pak & Patten 2008). Although resistance training programs for stroke typically target improvements in maximal muscle strength, gains in muscle endurance (i.e. the ability to sustain submaximal […]


Strength training improves the nervous system’s ability to drive muscles 2

Imagine that the New Year has just begun. You’ve made a resolution to improve your physical fitness. In particular, you want to improve your muscle strength. You’ve heard that people with stronger muscles live longer and have less difficulty standing, walking, and using the toilet when they get older (Rantanen […]


Neural mechanisms related to the reduction in muscle force after stretching

Stretching routines are commonly performed before exercise, and they are often included in rehabilitation programs. One of the most common types of stretching is static stretching.  Static stretching involves lengthening the muscle, then holding it at a lengthened position for several seconds. For example, if you bend over to touch […]


Why does motor performance decline with aging?

Populations in many countries are aging as the proportion of people over 65 years is projected to increase over the next 30-40 years. Aging however, is accompanied by a reduced ability to perform daily tasks such as walking, rising from a chair and climbing stairs, ultimately impacting independence of living. […]


Too much of a good thing? A new role for serotonin in the human spinal cord

Serotonin is one of the “feel good” neuromodulators floating around in the central nervous system, however, it doesn’t just play a role when it comes to our mood. Serotonin plays a very important role in transmitting impulses between nerve cells. More specifically, it affects the excitability of our motoneurones, the […]


Hard and fast: Power training improves walking speed and voluntary activation in mobility-limited older adults

Muscle strength and other measures of physical function decline with age (e.g., Kenny et al. 2013).  To overcome these age-related decrements in physical function, physical exercise is recommended (e.g. American College of Sports Medicine 2009; Australian Government Department of Health 2005).  Two types of exercise that improve physical function in older adults […]


Muscle weakness or sarcopenia? Call it what it is! 1

The term ‘sarcopenia’ comes from ‘sarco-’, the Greek word for ‘flesh’ (muscle), and ‘-penia’ which denotes ‘deficiency’.  The original definition reflected this as ‘the degenerative loss of skeletal muscle mass that accompanies ageing (0.5–1% loss per year after the age of 25)’ (Cruz-Jentoft et al., 2010).  However over time, the […]


Does exercise intensity affect the susceptibility of resistance trained males to central fatigue?

The ability to activate and maintain muscle activation during movement is the one of the many jobs of the central nervous system and a break-down within this system results in motor impairment. A common acute motor impairment from exercise is fatigue which can be described as a reduction in the […]