The shape of the force-elbow angle relationship for maximal voluntary contractions and sub-maximal electrically induced contractions in human elbow flexors

Ernst Albin Hansen, Hae Dong Lee, Keith Barrett, Walter Herzog

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The force-length relationship is a basic property of skeletal muscle. Knowledge of this relationship is necessary for most analyses of human movement, and in simulation models predicting movement control strategies. Studies on animal muscles have shown that force-length relationships for sub-maximal contractions are not related through a simple scaling procedure to the relationship for maximal contractions. Furthermore, potentiation might produce a shift of sub-maximal relative to maximal force-length relationships. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that human force-elbow angle relationships for sub-maximal unpotentiated contractions are shifted to larger elbow angles (i.e. larger muscle lengths) compared to the relationship for maximal voluntary contractions (MVC), and that this shift is reduced, or even abolished, for sub-maximal potentiated contractions. Force-elbow angle relationships (48-160°) were obtained from healthy subjects (n=13). At each of nine tested elbow angles, the test set consisted of a single twitch (ST pre) and a doublet twitch (DTpre) stimulation of m. biceps brachii, followed by an MVC, followed by another single twitch (ST post) and a doublet twitch (DTpost) stimulation. The single and doublet twitches induced sub-maximal contractions. The force-elbow angle relationships for the pre-MVC (unpotentiated) twitch contractions were shifted to larger angles compared to those obtained for MVC. The force-elbow angle relationships for the post-MVC (potentiated) twitch contractions were shifted to smaller angles compared to those obtained for the unpotentiated twitch contractions. These results support the idea that the shift to larger muscle lengths for the sub-maximal, unpotentiated force-length relationships relative to the relationship for maximal contractions may be caused by a length-dependent Ca2+ sensitivity that may be offset, at least in part, by potentiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1713-1718
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Volume36
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Nov 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation

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