A comparison of three muscle pennation assumptions and their effect on isometric and isotonic force

J Biomech. 1991;24(2):163-7. doi: 10.1016/0021-9290(91)90361-p.


Three different pennation angle assumptions are compared to experimental data from Huijing and Woittiez (Neth. J. Zool. 34, 21-32, 1984) that relate fibre length to angle of pennation changes. The assumptions tested are: (1) neglecting pennation; (2) assuming a fixed pennation; and (3) assuming a constant muscle volume and thickness resulting in pennation angle being dependent on fibre length. Each assumption is compared by transforming fibre force/length and force/velocity characteristics to muscle properties. In general, the fixed pennation assumption provides the worst estimate of muscle force output with a peak error of 0.31 Fo during isometric contractions at small muscle lengths. A better estimate of muscle force output was provided by neglecting pennation entirely. The assumption that the pennation angle changed with fibre length maintained an error of less than 0.05 Fo for most lengths and velocities tested and provided the best estimate of muscle force output.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Elasticity
  • Isometric Contraction / physiology*
  • Isotonic Contraction / physiology*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Muscles / physiology*