My Top 2 Articles of 2016 – PART 1
The articles that made me reflect the most in 2016
My top 2 articles in 2016 that made me reflect the most are the following:
1) “Rate of force development: physiological and methodological considerations” 
2) “Low-grade inflammation may moderate the effect of behavioral treatment for chronic pain in adults” 
The narrative review nicely written by Maffiuletti et al. highlights the neuromuscular determinants of rate of force development (RFD) and its implications in clinical practice as well as in research. The RFD is “defined as the slope of the force-time curve obtained under isometric contractions, and is a measure of the ability of the neuromuscular system to generate rapid force at the onset of contraction” .
In this review the main neuromuscular mechanisms underlying explosive strength are discussed. The figure below depicts the possible factors that may influence the RFD.
The authors carefully describe how several factors may have an impact on the RFD and how the clinicians can enhance it in clinical practice. They advise interventions such as explosive-type strength training in eliciting marked gains in rapid force capacity (RFD and impulse) and in increasing muscle activation at the onset of muscle contraction. Also they recognise the use of non-explosive albeit heavy (≥75 % of 1-repetition maximum) training loads to increase contractile RFD.
Other authors have looked into the RFD for different conditions. For example , Andersen et al.  found marked pain relief in women with chronically painful neck muscles in response to specific strength training. They reported decreased subjective pain intensity of 79% in response to a 10 week specific programme that increased the RFD by 61-115% .
Angelozzi et al.  advised the assessment of the RFD after ACL reconstruction as a measure of an objective parameter to ponder the return to play. Peñailillo et al.  suggested that the RFD100–200 is a more specific and sensitive indirect marker of eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage than MVC peak torque.
And what about Tendinopathy research? The latest evidence advice the use of Heavy Slow Resistance training  and this employs training loads > 70% 1RM, thus potentially able to improve the RFD.
To date I have not found any article looking into changes in RFD in subjects presenting with tendinopathy pre and post intervention. Only Wang et al.  looked at RFD in mid portion Achilles tendinopathy in a symptomatic population of elite athletes but the sample size was too small to draw strong conclusions.
So, if you have any advice about where to find this possible correlation or if you wish to discover this potential link I am looking forward to explore it!
PART 2 Coming soon…
1. Maffiuletti, N.A., et al., Rate of force development: physiological and methodological considerations. Eur J Appl Physiol, 2016. 116(6): p. 1091-116.
2. Lasselin, J., et al., Low-grade inflammation may moderate the effect of behavioral treatment for chronic pain in adults. J Behav Med, 2016. 39(5): p. 916-24.
3. Aagaard, P., et al., Increased rate of force development and neural drive of human skeletal muscle following resistance training. J Appl Physiol (1985), 2002. 93(4): p. 1318-26.
4. Andersen, L.L., et al., Effect of contrasting physical exercise interventions on rapid force capacity of chronically painful muscles. J Appl Physiol (1985), 2009. 107(5): p. 1413-9.
5. Angelozzi, M., et al., Rate of force development as an adjunctive outcome measure for return-to-sport decisions after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther, 2012. 42(9): p. 772-80.
6. Penailillo, L., et al., Rate of force development as a measure of muscle damage. Scand J Med Sci Sports, 2015. 25(3): p. 417-27.
7. Beyer, R., et al., Heavy Slow Resistance Versus Eccentric Training as Treatment for Achilles Tendinopathy: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Am J Sports Med, 2015. 43(7): p. 1704-11.
8. Wang, H.K., et al., Evoked spinal reflexes and force development in elite athletes with middle-portion Achilles tendinopathy. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther, 2011. 41(10): p. 785-94.