Function of mono- and biarticular muscles in running

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1993 Oct;25(10):1163-73.


In this study the function of leg muscles during stretch-shortening cycles in fast running (6 m.s-1) was investigated. For a single stance phase, kinematics, ground reaction forces, and EMG were recorded. First, rough estimates of muscle force, obtained by shifting the EMG curves +90 ms, were correlated with origin-to-insertion velocity (VOI). Second, active state and internal muscle behavior were estimated by using a muscle model that was applied for soleus and gastrocnemius. High correlations were found between estimates of muscle force and VOI time curves for mono-articular hip, knee, and ankle extensor muscles. The correlation coefficients for biarticular muscles were low. The model results showed that active state of gastrocnemius was high during increase of origin-to-insertion length (LOI), whereas active state of soleus was low during the start of increase of LOI and rose to a plateau at the time lengthening ended and shortening started. It seems that the difference in stimulation between gastrocnemius and soleus is a compromise between minimizing energy dissipation and using the stretch-shortening cycle optimally. Furthermore, it was found that the net plantar flexion moment during running reached a value of 302 Nm, which was 158% and 127% higher than the peak values reached in maximal jump and sprint push-offs, respectively. It was argued that the higher mechanical output in running than in jumping could be ascribed to the utilization of the stretch-shortening cycle in running. The higher values in running compared with sprinting, however, may lie in a difference in muscle stimulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Elasticity
  • Electromyography / methods
  • Humans
  • Joints / physiology
  • Leg / physiology*
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Movement / physiology
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscles / physiology*
  • Running / physiology*