Effects of imagery motor training on torque production of ankle plantar flexor muscles

Muscle Nerve. 2003 Aug;28(2):168-73. doi: 10.1002/mus.10406.


The aim of this study was to investigate in control subjects the effect of imagery training on the torque of plantar-flexor muscles of the ankle. Twenty-nine subjects were allocated to one of three groups that performed either imagery training, low-intensity strength training, or no training (only measurements). The low-intensity training served as an attention control group. Plantar-flexor torques were measured before, during, directly after, and 4 weeks after the training period. At the end of a 7-week training program, significant differences were observed between the maximal voluntary torque production of the imagery training group (136.3 +/- 21.8% of pretraining torque) vs. the low-intensity training group (112.9 +/- 29.0%; P < 0.02) and the control group (113.6 +/- 19.2%; P < 0.02). The results of this study show that imagery training of lower leg muscles significantly increased voluntary torque production of the ankle plantar-flexor muscles and that the force increase was not due to nonspecific motivational effects. Such muscle strengthening effects might be beneficial in rehabilitation for improving or maintaining muscle torque after immobilization.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ankle / physiology*
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imagination / physiology*
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Physical Education and Training