Activity of mono- and biarticular leg muscles during sprint running

Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1985;54(5):524-32. doi: 10.1007/BF00422964.


A cinematographic recording of the movements of the lower limbs together with simultaneous emg tracings from nine lower limb muscles were obtained from two male track sprinters during three phases of a 100 m sprint run. The extensor muscles of the hip joint were found to be the primary movers by acceleration of the body's center of gravity (C.G.) during the ground phase of the running cycle. The extensors of the knee joint were also important in this, but to a minor extent, while the plantar flexors of the ankle joint showed the least contribution. The biarticular muscles functioned in a way different from the monoarticular muscles in the sense that they perform eccentric work during the flight and recovery phases and concentric work during the whole ground phase (support), whereas the monoarticular muscles are restricted first to eccentric work and then to concentric work during the ground phase. Furthermore, the biarticular muscles show variation (and rate of variation) in muscle length to a larger extent than the monoarticular muscles. Paradoxical muscle actions appear to take place around the knee joint, where the hamstring muscles, m. gastrocnemius, m. vastus laterialis and m. vastus medialis act as synergists by extending the knee joint during the last part of the ground phase.

MeSH terms

  • Ankle / physiology
  • Electromyography
  • Hip / physiology
  • Humans
  • Knee / physiology
  • Leg / physiology*
  • Male
  • Movement
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Muscles / anatomy & histology
  • Muscles / physiology*
  • Running*