It has been shown that cat soleus (SOL) forces remain nearly constant despite increases in electromyography (EMG) activity for increasing speeds of locomotion, while medial gastrocnemius (MG) forces and EMG activity increase in parallel. Furthermore, during jumping, average cat SOL forces decrease, while average EMG activity increases dramatically compared with walking conditions. Finally, during rapid paw-shake movements, SOL forces and EMG activities are nearly zero. Based on these results, we hypothesized that the SOL is deactivated, despite ankle extensor requirements, if the contractile conditions limit SOL force potential severely. The purposes of this study were to (i) investigate SOL EMG activity and force as a function of its contractile conditions during jumping, (ii) test whether SOL EMG activity is associated with SOL contractile conditions, and (iii) determine the functional implications of SOL EMG activity during jumping. It was found that the SOL was prematurely deactivated in two distinct phases during the propulsive phase of jumping, in which shortening speeds approached or even exceeded the maximal speed of muscle shortening. We concluded that the SOL was prematurely deactivated to save energy because its mechanical work output approached zero, and speculated that the first phase of deactivation might be caused by a decrease in group Ia firing associated with active shortening and the second by a pre-programmed response inherent to the central pattern generator.