Sprint Performance Is Related to Muscle Fascicle Length in Male 100-m Sprinters

J Appl Physiol (1985). 2000 Mar;88(3):811-6. doi: 10.1152/jappl.2000.88.3.811.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between muscle fascicle length and sprint running performance in 37 male 100-m sprinters. The sample was divided into two performance groups by the personal-best 100-m time: 10.00-10.90 s (S10; n = 22) and 11.00-11.70 s (S11; n = 15). Muscle thickness and fascicle pennation angle of the vastus lateralis and gastrocnemius medialis and lateralis muscles were measured by B-mode ultrasonography, and fascicle length was estimated. Standing height, body weight, and leg length were similar between groups. Muscle thickness was similar between groups for vastus lateralis and gastrocnemius medialis, but S10 had a significantly greater gastrocnemius lateralis muscle thickness. S10 also had a greater muscle thickness in the upper portion of the thigh, which, given similar limb lengths, demonstrates an altered "muscle shape." Pennation angle was always less in S10 than in S11. In all muscles, S10 had significantly greater fascicle length than did S11, which significantly correlated with 100-m best performance (r values from -0.40 to -0.57). It is concluded that longer fascicle length is associated with greater sprinting performance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Muscle, Skeletal / anatomy & histology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Organ Size
  • Running / physiology*