About the research
The AWRC team utilises a specialist Canon Medical Systems ultrasound to focus on how muscles respond to exercise, with muscle, tendon and vascular reactions being monitored during different training exercises. The Canon Medical Systems ultrasound system delivers crystal-clear images, clinical precision and expert tools.
During this ongoing project, patients from the community — accessed through the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine (NCSEM) — and elite athletes were monitored by a team from Sheffield Hallam and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.
Multiple applications and studies
The Canon ultrasound is being used to explore the effectiveness of power assisted exercises for stroke rehabilitation patients. The exercise can improve muscle mass and strength in chronic stroke patients.
Significantly, the exercise can produce hypertrophy or increase the volume of the organ or tissue in both the affected and non-affected limbs of the upper and lower body. Research shows that positive changes in muscle mass including strength, rate of force development and hypertrophy can be made in young adults following explosive type fitness training.
A study in collaboration with the AWRC, University of Sheffield and University of Nottingham is finding out how this type of exercise affects the muscles of adults aged 65+. In addition a 12-week training study of pre-menopausal and post-menopausal women will have their muscle mass, muscle architecture and muscle-tendon stiffness examined — with changes following exercise identified.
The Canon ultrasound is also being used to identify elite football players who may be at risk of recurrent hamstring strain injuries. The AWRC has set up a partnership with medical staff at Sheffield United Football Club to work on identifying neuromuscular risk factors for hamstring injuries in their elite playing squad, U23s and U18s.
The team has recently published a paper identifying that muscle architecture of the Vastus Lateralis is a good predictor of peak power output in elite cyclists.
They are currently working on providing a more extensive assessment of the contribution of muscle architecture to power output alongside a short training period and using the Canon ultrasound to make assessments.