The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of an 8-wk local vibration training (LVT) program on functional and corticospinal properties of dorsiflexor muscles. Forty-four young subjects were allocated to a training (VIB, n = 22) or control (CON, n = 22) group. The VIB group performed twenty-four 1-h sessions (3 sessions/wk) of 100-Hz vibration applied to the right tibialis anterior. Both legs were tested in each group before training (PRE), after 4 (MID) and 8 (POST) wk of training, and 2 wk after training (POST2W). Maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) torque was assessed, and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was used to evaluate cortical voluntary activation (VATMS), motor evoked potential (MEP), cortical silent period (CSP), and input-output curve parameters. MVC was significantly increased for VIB at MID for right and left legs [+7.4% (P = 0.001) and +6.2% (P < 0.01), respectively] and remained significantly greater than PRE at POST [+12.0% (P < 0.001) and +10.1% (P < 0.001), respectively]. VATMS was significantly increased for right and left legs at MID [+4.4% (P < 0.01) and +4.7% (P < 0.01), respectively] and at POST [+4.9% (P = 0.001) and +6.2% (P = 0.001), respectively]. These parameters remained enhanced in both legs at POST2W MEP and CSP recorded during MVC and input-output curve parameters did not change at any time point for either leg. Despite no changes in excitability or inhibition being observed, LVT seems to be a promising method to improve strength through an increase of maximal voluntary activation, i.e., neural adaptations. Local vibration may thus be further considered for clinical or aging populations.NEW & NOTEWORTHY The effects of a local vibration training program on cortical voluntary activation measured with transcranial magnetic stimulation were assessed for the first time in dorsiflexors, a functionally important muscle group. We observed that training increased maximal voluntary strength likely because of the strong and repeated activation of Ia spindle afferents during vibration training that led to changes in the cortico-motoneuronal pathway, as demonstrated by the increase in cortical voluntary activation.
Keywords: Boltzmann modeling; cortical voluntary activation; corticospinal excitability and inhibition; local vibration; transcranial magnetic stimulation.
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