View Full Version : Elastic energy and the sliding filament theory

John M. Cissik
07-18-1996, 03:58 AM
-- [ From: John M. Cissik * EMC.Ver #2.5.02 ] --

To: Biomch-l Subscribers
From: John M. Cissik
Subj: Elastic energy and the sliding filament theory

Earlier in the week I posted a query on elastic energy and the sliding
filament theory. I have included the original message along with a summary
of responses. Thank you very much for your help!
John M. Cissik

Original Posting:
I am preparing to do research on the vertical jump and have run into a
stumbling block. As you know, the vertical jump is a very short duration
maximal test which utilizes primarily the ATP/PC energy system. Several
authors suggest that the storage and recovery of elastic energy affect the
performance during a counter-movement or depth type vertical jump. The
stumbling block that I have come upon is in the form of an article by:
van Ingen Schenau, G.J. (1984). An alternative view to the concept of
utilization of elastic energy in human movement. Human Movement Science, 3,

van Ingen Schenau disagrees with the elastic energy concept in this article.
He points out that most muscles do not have a large enough prestretch or
enough mechanical efficiency to account for the elastic energy levels that
are reported by the literature. In addition to this, he cites several
articles that call the cross bridge/sliding filament models into question or
at least point out that these models do not explain everything:
Homsher, E., Irving, M., and Wallner, A. (1981). J. Physiology, 321, 423-
Curtin, N.A., and Woledge, R.C. (1979). J. Physiology, 297, 539-550.
Curtin, N.A., and Woledge, R.C. (1979). J. Physiology, 288, 353-366.

This is not an area that I want to spend alot of time on with my thesis.
However, if there are alternate models it is worth exploring them. My
questions are:
1. Am I on a wild goose chase here?
2. Have I stumbled onto an old debate that is now resolved?
3. Is anyone still looking at these issues now?
Thank you for your time.
John M. Cissik

Date: Tuesday, 16-Jul-96 09:22 AM

From: Jeff McBride \ Internet: (jmcbri10@sharky.scu.edu.au)
Dear John Cissik,

I am an exercise physiologist with special interest in all aspects of muscle
Let me begin by saying that if the theories of muscle contraction are not
a primary concern for your thesis that you should avoid making any types of
assumptions or conclusions in this area. The topic is quite controversial
and very complicated. While the sliding-filament theory is arguably the
most accepted other theories continue to have merit and new theories are
continually being developed. I have not followed the literature as closely
in the past year as I have in the past, but I know that at least one of the
problems with the sliding-filament theory was that it was not practical in
fast contraction situations. Single attachment and detachment times for
individual myosin heads takes to long to account for the high velocity of
contraction of fast twich muscle. However, it was determined that multiple
myosin head attachment per a single ATP was possible thus again supporting
the functionality of sliding-filaments. If you feel that a better
understanding of all of these concepts is necessary then you might want to
start with a book edited by John Squire called "Molecular Mechanisms in
Muscular Contraction". As far as the topic of stored elastic energy, from
my understanding there is a paper out that uses a mathematical model to show
that there is no such thing as elastic energy in muscle. In addition, data
has been collected here in a isokinetic squat showing that the addition of a
strech-shortening cycle has no bearing on concentric force production, this
suggests that there is no additional stored energy supplied from a pre-
streched muscle. However, there is literature to support that it does exist
I think you would need to do a very thorough literature search and decide
for yourself. I hope some of this information can lead you in the right

Jeffrey M. McBride
Robert Newton
Centre for Exercise and Sport Management
Southern Cross University
PO Box 157
Lismore, NSW 2480, Australia
Telephone: Int + 61 66 203 234 Facsimile: Int + 61 66 203 880
Email: rnewton@scu.edu.au

Date: Tuesday, 16-Jul-96 12:10 PM

From: Con Hrysomallis \ Internet: (conhrysomallis@vut.edu.au)
Dear John,

It has also been proposed that the countermovement may allow the muscles
time to reach maximum activation at the joint angles that allow the
greatest torque and at a more favorable velocity for force generation [JAB
1993 9(2).p106].

Con Hrysomallis, PhD
Department of Physical Education and Recreation
Victoria University
PO Box 14428
Victoria 8001

Email: conhrysomallis@vut.edu.au
Fax: 61 3 96884891
Date: Monday, 15-Jul-96 08:29 PM

From: Gideon Ariel \ Internet: (gideon@arielnet.com)
Hi John:
You are on the right track. I am going to publish some information relate
to the nature of power production in skeletal muscle. You will see it in
the next few days.
Gideon Ariel, Ph.D.

Date: Tuesday, 16-Jul-96 10:11 AM

From: Andrew Pinder \ Internet: (apinder@ewps-hsl.demon.co.uk)
Dear John,

In your posting you mentioned articles by Curtin and Woldege.
You might find it helpful to contact Professor Woledge directly. He
tends not to use e-mail, so a fax is probably best. His address is:

Professor R.C. Woledge
Institute for Human Performance
University College London
Brockley Hill
Middlesex HA7 4LP

Tel +44 181 954 8856
Fax +44 181 954 2317
Andrew Pinder
Ergonomics and Work Psychology Section
Health and Safety Laboratory
Broad Lane
Sheffield S3 7HQ

Phone: + 44 114 289 2594
Fax: + 44 114 289 2526
email: apinder@ewps-hsl.demon.co.uk

Date: Wednesday, 17-Jul-96 03:39 PM

From: N.FOWLER \ Internet: (n.fowler@mmu.ac.uk)

I have just finished my PhD looking at plyometric training and have read
the paper by Van Ingen Schenau (1986). You should also read the response to
this paper by Hoff (1986) and the original authors comments on the response
in the same journal in 1986.

Certainly from my review of the literature the jury still seems to be out.
. or to have gone away altogether because the problem way to vexing !

Van Ingen Schenau is correct in his interpretation that the sliding
filament theory has a number of flaws and fails to explain the observed
behaviour of muscle . . . however, there are no other widely accepted
theories. Van Ingen Schenau's notion of INWASTE can not explain the
coupling time/half life phenomena on the Stretch Shorten cycle (SSC)
although it does offer an alternative explanation to the immediate rebound

In direct answers to your questions on the Sport Science list:-

1. Am I on a wild goose chase . . . .

That depend upon your research question. (sorry for the bland response but
if you think about it you should be able to answer this one yourself !)

2. Have I stumbled upon an old debate that is now resolved . . .

To my knowledge it is an old arguement but one that has not yet been
resolved and should form an interesting section of your lit review and
shape the nature of your discussion of results.

3. Is anyone still looking at these issues now ?

Van Ingen Schenau is still publishing although I don't think he has
returned to this direct issue in recent times. There are also a number of
papers in the muscle physiology and biomechanics literature relating to
muscle models - although most still utilize a combination of Hill's and
Huxley's models. I guess that those responding to this message will give
you some indication of where the interest in the problem lies !

Best of luck with the work.

Dr Neil Fowler.