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The ability to develop force quickly (rate of force development) is an important ability associated with athletic performance, injuries, and risk of falls.
Whilst larger muscle mass is typically associated with greater maximal force production, the nervous system output is a key determinant in how quickly one can produce force. Therefore, there may be distinct mechanisms that encode muscle force and the speed of muscle shortening, respectively.
Furthermore, whilst maximal force typically increases following a period of classic resistance training, such training might not necessarily result in greater force development, suggesting that the neuromuscular mechanisms underpinning a change in rate of force development are distinct to those of maximal force.
The aim of this project will be to establish:
- The differences in neuromuscular determinants of maximal force vs. rate of force development
- The neuromuscular determinants of maximal force vs rate of force development in long-term trained individuals
- The nature of training variables causing specific neural adaptations necessary for increasing rate of force development
The project will involve a range of neuromuscular techniques, including measures of mechanical outputs (force, torque), decomposition of high-density surface EMG to discern activity of individual motoneurons, and potentially a range of neurostimulation techniques (nerve stimulation, transcranial magnetic stimulation).
Primary supervisor: Dr Jakob Škarabot
Secondary supervisors: Professor Jonathan P Folland, Dr Alessandro Del Vecchio (external)
Our entry requirements are listed using standard UK undergraduate degree classifications i.e. first-class honours, upper second-class honours and lower second-class honours.
Entry requirements for United Kingdom
Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, a minimum of 2:1 (or equivalent) in Sport and Exercise Science, Biomedical Science, Bioengineering or a related degree subject. A relevant MSc degree (e.g., Exercise Physiology, Sports Biomechanics, Bioengineering, Biomedical Science or similar) would be an advantage. A demonstrable interest/experience of neuromuscular research (particularly prior experience of EMG measures) and/or signal processing would be preferred.
English language requirements
Applicants must meet the minimum English language requirements. Further details are available on the International website.
Find out more about research degree funding
HOW TO APPLY
All applications should be made online. Under programme name, select 'Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences'. Please quote the advertised reference number SSEHS/JSK in your application. To avoid delays in processing your application please ensure that you submit the minimum supporting documents.