Changes in fascicle length from rest to maximal voluntary contraction affect the assessment of voluntary activation

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Authors

  • Adamantios Arampatzis
  • Lida Mademli
  • Gianpiero De Monte
  • Mark Walsh

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of the differences between the actual fascicle length during a voluntary contraction and the fascicle length at rest of the triceps surae muscle on the determination of the voluntary activation (VA) by using the interpolated twitch technique. Twelve participants performed isometric voluntary maximal (MVC) and submaximal (20%, 40%, 60% and 80% MVC) contractions at two different ankle angles (75 degrees and 90 degrees ) under application of the interpolated twitch technique. Two ultrasound probes were used to determine the fascicle length of soleus, gastrocnemius medialis and gastrocnemius lateralis muscles. Further, the MVCs and the twitches were repeated for six more ankle angles (85 degrees , 95 degrees , 100 degrees , 105 degrees , 110 degrees and 115 degrees ). The VA of the triceps surae muscle were calculated (a) using the rest twitch force (RTF) measured during the same trial as the interpolated twitch force (ITF; traditional method) and (b) using the RTF at an ankle angle where the fascicle length showed similar values between ITF and RTF (fascicle length consideration method). The continuous changes in fascicle length from rest to MVC affect the accuracy of the assessment of the VA. The traditional method overestimates the assessment of the VA on average 4% to 12%, especially at 90 degrees ankle angle (i.e. short muscle length). The reason for this influence is the unequal force-length potential of the muscle at twitch application by the measure of ITF and RTF. These findings provide evidence that the fascicle length consideration method permits a more precise prediction (an improvement of 4-12%) of the voluntary contraction compared to the traditional method.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of biomechanics
Volume40
Issue number14
Pages (from-to)3193-3200
Number of pages8
ISSN0021-9290
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2007

ID: 18609

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