European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 86, Issue 4, pp 363–369

On the mechanical power of joint extensions as affected by the change in muscle force (or cross-sectional area), ceteris paribus

  • Alberto E. Minetti
Short Communication

DOI: 10.1007/s00421-001-0554-4

Cite this article as:
Minetti, A.E. Eur J Appl Physiol (2002) 86: 363. doi:10.1007/s00421-001-0554-4


This paper offers a reference prediction for the changes of mechanical power generated during a maximal (vertical, horizontal or inclined) joint extension, as a consequence of just the changes of muscle force or cross-sectional area (CSA). Ceteris paribus (all other things being equal), for a given joint, the exponents at which the force changes have to be raised to predict the duration, final speed and power of the maximal extension are –0.5, 0.5, and 1.5, respectively, for horizontal movements. For example, a force decrease of 30% leads to an increase of 19.5% of the duration of the extension and to a decrease of 16.3% and of 41.4% of its final speed and power. The equations for vertical or inclined extension performances are subject to the same exponents. However, the actual prediction is dependent upon the ratio between muscle strength and body weight, reflecting the fraction of the muscle strength (or CSA) acting against gravity during the manoeuvre. For instance, during a vertical extension, a force decrease of 30% leads to an increase of 30.9% of the duration of the extension and to a decrease of 29.3% and of 50.5% of its final speed and power. Based on the proposed model, a methodology is also described to detect the effects on the extension power of other determinants, in addition to CSA, of the useful force change (e.g. neuromuscular factors, motor control).

Mechanical power Muscle force Joint extension Muscle cross-sectional area 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alberto E. Minetti
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Biophysical and Clinical Research into Human Movement, Department of Exercise and Sport Science, Manchester Metropolitan University, Hassall Road, ST7 2HL Alsager, UKUK

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