I am writing to inquire about the most accepted use of the term
"isotonic" with regard to muscle contractions. Specifically, I am
interested in opinions as to the use of the word to describe concentric
and eccentric contractions. Based on my own education (primarily
biomechanics and exercise physiology), my understooding is that isotonic
should NOT be used to describe concentric or eccentric muscle actions
because the muscle tension varies over the range of motion. However,
upon reviewing several books on topics such as exercise physiology,
biomechanics, sports equipment design, and strength training, there is
clearly no concensus as to the correct use of the term. While some
sources specifically note that isotonic is not appropriate for
describing concentric and eccentric contractions, there appears to be an
equal number of sources that advocate its use in this way. Also, some
sources note that the term dynamic activation is much more accurate when
describing the muscle contraction that takes place when lifting any
(constant) weight objects.

Any opinions on the matter would be appreciated.

You can respond to me directly at jws@xmission.com and I will post responses.


Jessica W. Smith, ME, PE

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