Mechanical characteristics and fiber composition of human leg extensor muscles

  • Carmelo Bosco
  • Paavo V. Komi


To investigate the influence of skeletal muscle fiber composition on the mechanical performance of human skeletal muscle under dynamic conditions, 34 physical education students with differing muscle fiber composition (M. vastus lateralis) were used as subjects to perform maximal vertical jumps on the force-platform. Two kinds of jumps were performed: one from a static starting position (SJ), the other with a preliminary counter-movement (CMJ). The calculated mechanical parameters included height of rise of center of gravity (h), average force (¯F), net impulse (NI) and average mechanical power (W). It was observed that the percentage of fast twitch fibers was significantly related (p< 0.05-0.01) to these variables in SJ condition and also to h and NI of the positive work phase in CMJ. It is concluded that skeletal muscle fiber composition also determines performance in a multijoint movement. The result is explainable through the differences in the mechanical characteristics of the motor units and their respective muscle fibers.

Key words

Jumping mechanics Slow and fast twitch fibers Force production 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carmelo Bosco
    • 1
  • Paavo V. Komi
    • 1
  1. 1.Kinesiology Laboratory, Department of Biology of Physical ActivityUniversity of JyvÄskylÄJyvÄskylÄ 10Finland

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