Because the FTT project necessitates the development of novel tests, the reliability of each component test must be determined prior to data collection. Therefore, the purpose of this pilot study is to determine the reliability of novel tests designed by the Exercise Physiology Laboratory at Johnson Space Center (JSC) to quickly and safely assess muscle performance. Prior to initiating the flight-related portion of the FTT project, the reliability of these novel muscle performance tests must be determined.
(1) To determine the reliability of each test designed to quickly and safely assess muscle performance.
(2) To determine the time requirement of each of the muscle performance tests.
Subjects completed a battery of lower- and upper-body muscle performance tests on three separate occasions, each separated by at least 48 hours. The battery included the following tests (in order): 1) Primus® muscle force control test; 2) knee extension interpolated twitch test; 3) knee extension muscle force control test; 4) leg press maximal isometric force test; 5) leg press maximal power test; 6) leg press power endurance test; 7) bench press maximal isometric force test; 8) bench press muscle force control test; 9) bench press maximal power test; and 10) bench press power endurance test. Intra-class correlation coefficients and coefficients of variation were calculated to determine the reliability of each muscle performance parameter.
The force control variables demonstrated low-to-moderate reliability, probably due to the low target force. The Primus® and the bench press both assessed upper-body force control. The bench press provided better reliability than the Primus®. Central activation capacity, maximal isometric force, RFD values, and maximal power values demonstrated excellent reliability. Reliability of the fatigue index metric during the leg press power endurance test was relatively low; however, reliability of the total work metric was excellent.
After discussing the findings with the FTT principal investigator (Jacob Bloomberg), the FTT investigative team, and ECP, the invetigators have decided to remove the Primus® force control test as well as the leg press and bench press maximal power tests from the battery because these tests provided poor reliability and redundant information, respectively.
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