Traditional strength training machines are isotonic, meaning the athlete lifts a set amount of weight throughout the movement.
With isokinetic strength training, the amount of weight lifted (or work performed) is variable—it depends on how much effort/work the athlete puts forth.
Isokinetic testing, using the BiodexTM machine in our Sports Medicine clinic, is primarily for post-operative patients to determine how strong the leg they have had surgery on is, based upon how much work they are performing for a set motion. The speed of the motion can be varied, so the physical therapist is able to test the strength of the muscles at high speeds, which makes this test sport-specific based on the athlete's needs.
During isokinetic testing, we test both the non-surgical leg and the surgical leg then take the results and compare them to determine how much strengthening is still needed in order for the athlete's strength to be equal in both legs.
Certain guidelines have been suggested for return to sport criteria based upon the results of isokinetic testing. For example, the athlete may need to have at least 75% of the strength of the non-surgical leg compared to the surgical leg in order to be released to run. Your physical therapist will determine these needs.
For more information, contact Andrea Carmin at 404-785-5699