Influence of the mechanical properties of the muscle-tendon unit on force generation in runners with different running economy

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In earlier studies, we found more economical runners having a more compliant quadriceps femoris (QF) tendon at low force levels, and a higher contractile strength and stiffness at the triceps surae (TS). To better understand how these differences influence force generation economy and energy recovery, we simulated contractions using a Hill-type muscle model and the previously determined muscle properties as input parameters. For eight different activation levels, we simulated isovelocity concentric contractions preceded by an isovelocity stretch. The length changes and contraction velocities imposed to the muscle-tendon units (MTU) corresponded to those happening whilst running. The main results of the simulations were: (a) a more compliant tendon at low force levels (QF) led to an advantage in force-generation due to a decrease in shortening velocity of the CE, (b) a higher contractile strength and higher stiffness at the TS led to a disadvantage in force-generation at high activation levels and to an advantage at low activation levels. In addition at the high economy runners both MTUs showed an advantageous energy release during shortening, which at the QF was mainly due to a higher elongation of the SEE and at the TS mainly to the higher contractile strength. Especially at low activation levels both MTUs showed an advantageous force generation per activation and a higher energy release as compared to the low economy runners.

ZeitschriftBiological cybernetics
Seiten (von - bis)87-96
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 01.07.2006

ID: 17627


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