The present project represents the second part of a two-phase clinical trial designed to comprehensively examine the effects of knee joint immobilization and recovery on skeletal muscle size, strength, and central nervous system plasticity in healthy males and females. The purpose of this study was to examine differences between sexes in the recovery of muscle quality, size, and strength in response to a resistance training-based rehabilitation program following one week of knee joint immobilization. Twenty-seven participants (males: n = 16, age = 22 ± 3 years, BM = 81.3 ± 14.8 kg, BMI = 25.0 ± 3.4 kg/cm2; females: n = 11, age = 20 ± 1 years, BM = 61.3 ± 9.4 kg, BMI = 23.3 ± 2.1 kg/cm2) underwent one week of knee joint immobilization followed by twice weekly resistance training sessions designed to re-strengthen the left knee joint. Retraining sessions were conducted until participants could reproduce their pre-immobilization isometric MVC peak torque. Assessments of muscle quality, size, and strength were conducted prior to immobilization (Pre-), immediately after immobilization (Post-Immobilization), and until retraining was finished (Post-Retraining). Results suggested that both sexes experienced negative changes in MVC peak torque, specific torque, echo intensity, and ECW/ICW ratio, with females experiencing greater decrements in MVC peak torque and specific torque. The number of retraining sessions required was similar for males (median = 1, mean = 2.13) and females (median = 2, mean = 2.91). Following retraining, specific torque was the only "muscle quality" indicator that had fully recovered. This is the first study to examine sex differences in the recovery of muscle quality indices in response to a retraining program following lower-limb immobilization. The findings may have important implications for the development of evidence-based, sex-specific rehabilitation approaches following short-term knee joint immobilization.


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Graduation Date





Stock, Matt


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Community Innovation and Education


Learning Sciences and Educational Research

Degree Program

Education; Exercise Physiology


CFE0009176; DP0026772





Release Date

August 2022

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)