Pflügers Archiv

, Volume 416, Issue 1–2, pp 113–119 | Cite as

Theoretical determination of force-length relations of intact human skeletal muscles using the cross-bridge model

  • Walter Herzog
  • Sheila K. Abrahamse
  • Henk E. D. J. ter Keurs
Excitable Tissues and Central Nervous Physiology


The purpose of this study was to determine force-length relations of selected human skeletal muscles, based on the theoretical foundations of the cross-bridge model and to calculate a strength curve for knee extension from these relations. Force-length relations were determined for the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius and gastrocnemius muscles, using sarcomere/ fiber length data form both legs of four cadavers and sarcomere geometry data reported in the literature. It appears that the two-joint muscles investigated in this study are not able to produce force throughout their full anatomical range of motion, whereas the one-joint muscles can. The strength curve for knee extension was determined as the sum of the force-length relations of the individual knee extensor muscles and showed good agreement with experimentally obtained knee extensor strength curves.

Key words

Force-length relations Cross-bridge theory Human skeletal muscle 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Walter Herzog
    • 1
  • Sheila K. Abrahamse
    • 1
  • Henk E. D. J. ter Keurs
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of Physical Education, BiomechanicsThe University of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.Department of Medical Physiology, Health Sciences Centre 1663The University of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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