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Administrator. Graeme
Staff member
New study finds the position of your tongue affects how strong you are during leg exercises

[FONT=&quot][h=2]Summary[/h]The tongue involvement within the isokinetic knee extension/flexion exercises has been investigated. Eighteen participants randomly underwent isokinetic testing at 90 and 180°/s with three different tongue positions: middle position (MID, thrusting on the lingual surface of incisive teeth), lying on the lower arch of the mouth (LOW) and extended up to the palatine spot (UP). Statistical analysis of the data revealed an about 30% significant increase of knee flexion peak torque in UP with respect to MID at both angular speeds. Such a difference could have had a confounding effect on results from numerous past studies using isokinetic knee flexion testing. This study alerts future researchers about standardization of tongue position and warrants further investigations on the explicative processes of this phenomenon.

Keywords: isokinetic test, knee flexion, maximum peak torque, tongue position, CNS path

[FONT=&quot][h=2]Introduction[/h]The tongue is a bodily organ assigned mainly to swallowing. It is also involved in chewing, speech and respiration1. The palatine spot is a place in the mouth ceiling in correspondence of the palatine bone between the inter-dental papilla of the upper front teeth and the first fold of the palate. There are at this site trigeminal nerve endings and most of all lots of exteroceptors either in rhesus monkeys, a species phylogenetically linked to humans2. Literature provides indications also at central level about the involvement of the tongue in several complex movements globally ruled by the central nervous system (CNS), particularly about swallowing and mastication3,5.
During exercise, the CNS manages the torque development within a specific joint by means of two specific adjustments: (i) by prolonging the agonist muscle activity, and (ii) by phase shifting the activation peak of antagonist muscles4. In this context, it has recently been shown that different tongue-training types induced different cortical plasticity5. A further step could be to investigate some tongue involvement within some joint movements6.
From practical field experience with some athletes describing their own way to manage powerful exercise output, it results that the power output of a joint movement could be influenced by the tongue position in the mouth while performing such strong tasks. The usual position of the tongue is described as lying on the lower arch of the mouth or extended up to the palatine spot depending on authors711.
To test this hypothesis, isokinetic testing, a simple methodology commonly used in laboratory, could help investigating the influence on strength development according to the tongue position. In this context, isokinetic testing is an effective and established measurement technique to assess torque developed by specific muscular groups12. Isokinetic testing is the gold standard to study the knee extension/flexion torque/joint angle at the intermediate velocities of 90 and 180°/s13,14. From the perspective of an average researcher aiming to perform a standard or specific isokinetic test, most of his or her attention would obviously be focused on each single joint object of investigation rather than on the position of the tongue. The position of the tongue of the exercising subject is hardly visible by the researcher. He would not care about that unless a reasonable doubt could be raised about its’ effect on the test results. Together with circadian rhythms, testing time, environment conditions, and subject position, we hypothesize that the position of the tongue could also fall within general guidelines for some isokinetic test15,16. Therefore, the aim of the present pilot study was to investigate eventual effects due to different tongue’s postures in the mouth on knee isokinetic testing outcomes.