EFFECT OF EXTERNAL APPLICATION OF SEMICONDUCTORS ON MOTOR PERFORMANCE: CASE STUDIES

  • S. Prassas

Abstract

INTRODUCTION AND PURPOSE In order to enhance motor performance, humans have utilized a variety of agents and/or techniques. External application of semiconductors has been currently advertised as a stimulus and as an enhancer of muscle performance. If the claim is correct, one could hypothesize that external application of semiconductors, such as germanium, may positively enhance motor performance. Discovery of a non invasive, effective and safe performance enhancer will be of definite value. Thus, the purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of external application of germanium on motor performance. METHODS Two motor tasks, vertical jumping and kicking, were investigated. An experienced kicker and a student participant in a University activity class participated in the kicking and jumping tasks, respectively. A NAC 400 High Speed Video Recording System was utilized to record ten kicks performed by the subject. For the first 5 kicks (condition A), the subject was wearing germanium imbedded cloth knee wraps (Goode Wraps, Reno, Nevada, USA.). For the next 5 kicks (condition B), the subject was wearing cloth knee wraps without germanium imbedded in them. Prior to videotaping each group of kicks, the subject sat quietly for 20 minutes and then exercised at the same level of intensity on a stationary bicycle ergometer for a period of five minutes. The same protocol was utilized during vertical jump data collection with the addition of a Kistler force plate to simultaneously collect force data and with the subject wearing ankle wraps and (Stromgren) shorts imbedded with germanium in addition to knee joint wraps. Jumping heights were calculated utilizing force plate data. All kicks and the best trial from each group of jumps (based on jump height) were digitized utilizing an Ariel Performance Analysis System (APAS). RESULTS AND CONCLUSION Kicking results showed that maximum ball velocity, knee joint angular velocity, and thigh and shank angular velocities at contact were larger in condition A than in condition B (26.5 d s , 802 deg/s, 382 deg/s, and 11 83 deg/s vs. 25.6 d s , 785 deg/s, 344 deg/s, and 1130 deg/s for conditions A and B, respectively). Paired t-tests, however, showed that the differences between the two conditions were not statistically significant (p <. 05). Vertical jump results showed average jump height, vertical take-off velocity and vertical push-off impulse to be greater in the germanium jumps (0.38 m, 2.75 d s , and 164 N.s vs. 0.36 m, 2.7 d s , and 162 N*s for conditions A and B, respectively). Again, however, those differences were not statistically different. Comparison of the best germanium and best control jumps revealed larger vertical impulse-resulting in larger vertical take-off velocity and jump height for the germanium jump. Comparison, however, of hip, knee and ankle joint maximum angular velocities showed higher values for the germanium hip and ankle, but not for the knee. Maximum shank angular velocity was also higher in the germanium jump, but the thigh angular velocity was not. Although no statistically significant performance improvement was found in this, limited, sample, trends in the data suggest that external application of semiconductors such as germanium may have a positive effect on motor performance. It is recommended that a larger study be undertaken to further illuminate the subject.
Section
Coaching and Sports Activities