Edwen, C. E., Thorland, J. B., Magnusson, P., Slinde, F., Svantesson, Ul, Hulthen, L, & Aagaard, P. (2013). Mechanical determinants of muscle power in women and men aged 18-81 years: influence of age and gender. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 45(5), Supplement abstract number 160.

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This study determined the influence of aging and gender in relation to maximal stretch-shortening cycle muscle power produced during a coupled eccentric-concentric muscle contraction in women (N = 180) and men (N = 127) aged 18-81 years. Maximal counter-movement jumps were performed on a force plate and instantaneous vertical power production was calculated throughout the entire movement.

Maximal stretch-shortening cycle leg-extension power was greater in men than women across the age span. However, the gender difference was progressively reduced with increasing age. Power declined with aging at ~50% faster rate in men than in women. Velocity at peak power was greater in men than women and also declined at a greater rate in men than women with aging. Vertical ground reaction force at peak power was higher in men than women only in younger adults (18-34 yrs). The age related decline was steeper in men than women. Rate of force development obtained during the counter-movement jumps declined with aging at a similar rate in both genders, but was higher in middle-aged and old women compared to age-matched men.

Implication. Maximal stretch-shortening cycle leg-extension power is greater in men than women throughout the adult lifespan, but declines at a greater rate in men. Maximal stretch-shortening cycle power production converged between women and men when approaching old age.

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