A phenomenological model for estimating metabolic energy consumption in muscle contraction

J Biomech. 2004 Jan;37(1):81-8. doi: 10.1016/s0021-9290(03)00239-2.


A phenomenological model for muscle energy consumption was developed and used in conjunction with a simple Hill-type model for muscle contraction. The model was used to address two questions. First, can an empirical model of muscle energetics accurately represent the total energetic behavior of frog muscle in isometric, isotonic, and isokinetic contractions? And second, how does such a model perform in a large-scale, multiple-muscle model of human walking? Four simulations were conducted with frog sartorius muscle under full excitation: an isometric contraction, a set of isotonic contractions with the muscle shortening a constant distance under various applied loads, a set of isotonic contractions with the muscle shortening over various distances under a constant load, and an isokinetic contraction in lengthening. The model calculations were evaluated against results of similar thermal in vitro experiments performed on frog sartorius muscle. The energetics model was then incorporated into a large-scale, multiple-muscle model of the human body for the purpose of predicting energy consumption during normal walking. The total energy estimated by the model accurately reflected the observed experimental behavior of frog muscle for an isometric contraction. The model also accurately reproduced the experimental behavior of frog muscle heat production under isotonic shortening and isokinetic lengthening conditions. The estimated rate of metabolic energy consumption for walking was 29% higher than the value typically obtained from gait measurements.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anura
  • Computer Simulation
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Hindlimb / physiology
  • Humans
  • Leg / physiopathology
  • Models, Biological*
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Walking / physiology*