In vivo maximal fascicle-shortening velocity during plantar flexion in humans

Abstract : Interindividual variability in performance of fast movements is commonly explained by a difference in maximal muscle-shortening velocity due to differences in the proportion of fast-twitch fibers. To provide a better understanding of the capacity to generate fast motion, this study aimed to 1) measure for the first time in vivo the maximal fascicle-shortening velocity of human muscle; 2) evaluate the relationship between angular velocity and fascicle-shortening velocity from low to maximal angular velocities; and 3) investigate the influence of musculo-articular features (moment arm, tendinous tissues stiffness, and muscle architecture) on maximal angular velocity. Ultrafast ultrasound images of the gastrocnemius medialis were obtained from 31 participants during maximal isokinetic and light-loaded plantar flexions. A strong linear relationship between fascicle-shortening velocity and angular velocity was reported for all subjects (mean R2 = 0.97). The maximal shortening velocity (VFmax) obtained during the no-load condition (NLc) ranged between 18.8 and 43.3 cm/s. VFmax values were very close to those of the maximal shortening velocity (Vmax), which was extrapolated from the F-V curve (the Hill model). Angular velocity reached during the NLc was significantly correlated with this VFmax (r = 0.57; P < 0.001). This finding was in agreement with assumptions about the role of muscle fiber type, whereas interindividual comparisons clearly support the fact that other parameters may also contribute to performance during fast movements. Nevertheless, none of the biomechanical features considered in the present study were found to be directly related to the highest angular velocity, highlighting the complexity of the upstream mechanics that lead to maximal-velocity muscle contraction.
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Hugo Hauraix, Antoine Nordez, Gaël Guilhem, Giuseppe Rabita, Sylvain Dorel. In vivo maximal fascicle-shortening velocity during plantar flexion in humans. Journal of Applied Physiology, American Physiological Society, 2015, 119 (11), pp.1262-1271. ⟨10.1152/japplphysiol.00542.2015⟩. ⟨hal-01616663⟩



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