Effect of calf-raise training on rapid force production and balance ability in elderly men

Ryoichi Ema, Shunsuke Ohki, Hirokazu Takayama, Yuji Kobayashi, Ryota Akagi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined whether home-based, high-speed calf-raise training changes the rate of torque development (RTD) during plantar flexion contractions and balance performance in elderly men. Thirty-four healthy elderly men (73 ± 5 yr) were randomly assigned to a training or control group (n = 17 in each group). The subjects in the training group completed 8 wk (3 times/wk) of home-based bilateral calf-raise training using body mass. Before and after the intervention, RTD during plantar flexion contractions and center-of-pressure (COP) displacement during single-leg standing were measured. Surface electromyographic amplitude of the triceps surae and tibialis anterior during the strength and single-leg standing was measured. Clinical magnitude-based inferences were used to interpret the training effect, with the smallest worthwhile effect assumed to be 0.2 of the baseline SD. The peak RTD increased 21% (90% confidence limits, ±19%) relative to the control group, which was accompanied by corresponding changes of the medial gastrocnemius (MG) and soleus (SOL) activations. The effect on COP displacement was possibly trivial (0%, ±13%), whereas substantial reduction in the MG (-19%, ±15%) and SOL (-25%, ±13%) activations during standing was observed. Our findings indicate that calf-raise training at home, performed without special equipment or venue, induces a substantial increase in the plantar flexors' rapid force-generating capability and triceps surae activations. Although the training effect on standing balance performance was not substantial, observed changes in the triceps surae activations during standing are expected to contribute to future balance performance improvement.NEW & NOTEWORTHY Calf-raise training with the intent to move rapidly, without special equipment or venue, induces an improvement of explosive plantar flexion force, which is attributable to neuromuscular rather than musculotendinous adaptations. Although the training effect on balance performance was trivial, we found a sign of improvement (i.e., neuromuscular adaptations during standing). In conclusion, functional neuromuscular capacity can be enhanced by home-based calf-raise exercise in elderly men, which may protect against mobility loss with aging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)424-433
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2017


  • electromyography
  • home-based
  • plantar flexion
  • rate of torque development
  • single-leg standing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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