Neuromuscular function and mechanical efficiency of human leg extensor muscles during jumping exercises

Acta Physiol Scand. 1982 Apr;114(4):543-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-1716.1982.tb07022.x.


The influence of prestretch amplitude on the mechanical efficiency was examined with 5 subjects, who performed 5 different series of vertical jumps, each of which differed with respect to the mechanics of the knee joint action during the prestretch (eccentric) phase of the contact on the floor. Electromyographic activity was recorded from the major extensor muscles during the entire work period of 1 min per series. In addition, expired air was collected during the test and recovery for determination of energy expenditure. Mechanical work was calculated from the vertical displacement of the body during the jumps. The results indicated that high net efficiency of 38.7% was observed in condition where amplitude of knee bending in eccentric phase was small. In large range motion the corresponding net efficiency was 30.1%. In jumps where no prestretching of extensor muscles occurred the net efficiency was 19.7%. The high efficiency of small amplitude jumps was characterized by low myoelectrical activity of the leg extensor muscles during the positive (concentric) work phase. In addition, the small amplitude jumps had shorter transition time in the stretch-shortening cycle, high average eccentric force and high stretching speed. Therefore the results suggest that the restitution of elastic energy, which was also related to the length change and stiffness of the muscles during stretch, plays an important role in regulating the mechanical efficiency of work.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Elasticity
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Leg
  • Muscles / physiology*
  • Neuromuscular Junction / physiology*
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Physical Exertion*