View Full Version : Wanted: muscle fibre lengths during isometric contractions

Peter Sinclair
09-23-1996, 02:50 PM
Dear Biomechanists,

I am working on some muscle modelling and would like some data to check my
calculations. I wish to check on the amount of fibre shortening as a muscle
develops isometric tension. To do this I need values for the following

length of muscle fibres
length of muscle belly
angle of pennation of fibres
length of tendon (this may or not be separated into tendon that is external
and internal to the belly)
force in muscle

I wish for values for these parameters at rest and with the muscle active;
preferably at a variety of muscle lengths. I also need values about the
above parameters when the muscle is at its optimum length for producing force.

I don't care which muscle I use or from what species; provided I have enough
detail to check my model. If someone can help me out with this then I will
be very grateful (as will the rabbits that may otherwise feel obliged to
volunteer for data collection)

I expected this data to be easily come by in the literature. Unfortunately,
each study I find only reports some of these parameters, or normalises data
to such an extent that the original data is hard to get at.

The following papers present some of this data; but none of them have
exactly what I want.

Ettema GJC, Huijing PA (1989). Properties of the tendinous structures and
series elastic component of EDL muscle-tendon complex of the rat. Journal of
Biomechanics. 22(11/12): 1209-1215.

Griffiths RI (1991). Shortening of muscle fibres during stretch of the
active cat medial gastrocnemius muscle: the role of tendon compliance.
Journal of Physiology. 436: 219-236.

Huijing PA, van Lookeren Campagne AAH, Koper JF (1989). Muscle architecture
and fibre characteristics of rat gastrocnemius and semimembranosus muscles
during isometric contractions. Acta Anatomica. 135: 46-52.

Lieber RL, Brown CG, Trestik CL (1992). Model of muscle-tendon interaction
during frog semitendinous fixed-end contractions. Journal of Biomechanics.
25(4): 421-428.

Muhl ZF (1982). Active length-tension relation and the effect of muscle
Pinnation on Fibre Length. Journal of Morphology. 173: 285-292.

Zuurbier CJ Everard AJ, van der Wees P, Huijing PA (1994). Length-force
characteristics of the aponeurosis in the passive and active muscle
condition and in the isolated condition. Journal of Biomechanics. 27(4):

In addition, this paper has no data but gives a thorough review of muscle
Otten E (1988). Concepts and models of functional architecture in skeletal
muscle.. Exercise and Sports Science Reviews. 16: 98-137.

Thanks in advance for your assistance.


Peter Sinclair

Division of Biomechanics E-mail: p.sinclair@cchs.usyd.edu.au
Faculty of Health Sciences Phone: 61 2 646 6137
The University of Sydney Fax: 61 2 646 6520
East St
Lidcombe NSW 2141

Carn the Swans!