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Muscle shortening velocity depends on tissue inertia and level of activation during submaximal contractions.


ABSTRACT: In order to perform external work, muscles must do additional internal work to deform their tissue, and in particular, to overcome the inertia due to their internal mass. However, the contribution of the internal mass within a muscle to the mechanical output of that muscle has only rarely been studied. Here, we use a dynamic, multi-element Hill-type muscle model to examine the effects of the inertial mass within muscle on its contractile performance. We find that the maximum strain-rate of muscle is slower for lower activations and larger muscle sizes. As muscle size increases, the ability of the muscle to overcome its inertial load will decrease, as muscle tension is proportional to cross-sectional area and inertial load is proportional to mass. Thus, muscles that are larger in size will have a higher inertial cost to contraction. Similarly, when muscle size and inertial load are held constant, decreasing muscle activation will increase inertial cost to contraction by reducing muscle tension. These results show that inertial loads within muscle contribute to a slowing of muscle contractile velocities (strain-rates), particularly at the submaximal activations that are typical during animal locomotion.

SUBMITTER: Ross SA 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4938035 | BioStudies | 2016-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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