Partially Activated Human Skeletal Muscle: An Experimental Investigation of Force, Velocity, and EMG

[+] Author and Article Information
G. I. Zahalak, J. Duffy, R. H. Hawley

Division of Engineering, Brown University, Providence, R. I.

P. A. Stewart, H. M. Litchman

Division of Biological and Medical Sciences, Brown University, Providence, R. I.

P. R. Paslay

School of Engineering, Oakland University, Rochester, Mich.

J. Appl. Mech 43(1), 81-86 (Mar 01, 1976) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3423800 History: Received March 01, 1975; Revised June 01, 1975; Online July 12, 2010


Experiments are described which establish quantitative relations between muscular force, contraction velocity, and the electrical activity of the muscle (as measured by the surface EMG) under conditions of steady motion. The six subjects who participated in these experiments were all athletes. Test results confirm that human skeletal muscle in vivo behaves differently when it is contracting under load than when it is extending under load. At maximum voluntary effort the force-velocity relation is similar to that found for excised, tetanized muscle (Hill’s equation). Antagonist activity was found to be low under all conditions of load and velocity. Simple equations are proposed to describe the observed force-velocity-activation relations. The parameters of these equations, which represent the apparent internal friction properties of the muscles, are evaluated and reported.

Copyright © 1976 by ASME
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