European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 113, Issue 6, pp 1395–1403 | Cite as

Muscle–tendon interaction and EMG profiles of world class endurance runners during hopping

  • K. Sano
  • M. Ishikawa
  • A. Nobue
  • Y. Danno
  • M. Akiyama
  • T. Oda
  • A. Ito
  • M. Hoffrén
  • C. Nicol
  • E. Locatelli
  • P. V. Komi
Original Article

Abstract

The present study examined the muscle–tendon interaction of ten international level Kenyan runners. Ultrasonography and kinematics were applied together with EMG recordings of lower limb muscles during repetitive hopping performed at maximal level. The ten Kenyans had longer gastro Achilles tendon at rest (p < 0.01) as compared with ten control subjects matched in height. Conversely, the stretching and shortening amplitudes of the tendinous tissues of the medial gastrocnemius (MG) muscle were significantly smaller in the Kenyans than in controls during the contact phase of hopping. This applied also to the fascicle length changes, which were smaller and more homogeneous among Kenyans. These limited musculo-tendinous changes resulted in higher maximal hopping height and in larger power despite their reduced body weight. The associated finding of a greater shortening to stretching ratio of the MG tendinous tissues during contact could imply that the Kenyan MG muscle–tendon unit is optimized to favor efficient storage and recoil of elastic energy, while operating at optimal muscle fascicle working range (plateau region).

Keywords

Stretch-shortening cycle Elastic energy Running economy Ultrasound Stiffness 

References

  1. Alexander R McNeill (2003) Principles of Animal Locomotion. In: R McNeill Alexander (ed) walking, running, and hopping, chap 7, University Press, Princeton, pp 122–123Google Scholar
  2. Arampatzis A, Karamanidis K, Morey-Klapsing G, De Monte G, Stafilidis S (2007) Mechanical properties of the triceps surae tendon and aponeurosis in relation to intensity of sport activity. J Biomech 40:1946–1952PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Avela J, Santos PM, Komi PV (1996) Effects of differently induced stretch loads on neuromuscular control in drop jump exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol 72:553–562CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dalleau G, Belli A, Viale F, Lacour JR, Bourdin M (2004) A simple method for field measurement of leg stiffness in hopping. Int J Sports Med 25:170–176PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Fukunaga T, Ito M, Ichinose Y, Kuno S, Kawakami Y, Fukashiro S (1996) Tendinous movement of a human muscle during voluntary contractions determined by real-time ultrasonography. J Appl Physiol 81:1430–1433PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Fukunaga T, Kawakami Y, Kubo K, Kanehisa H (2002) Muscle and tendon interaction during human movements. Exerc Sport Sci Rev 30:106–110PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hawkins D, Hull ML (1990) A method for determining lower extremity muscle-tendon lengths during flexion/extension movements. J Biomech 23:487–494PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hermens HJ, Freriks B, Disselhorst-Klug CJ, Rau G (2000) Development of recommendations for SEMG sensors and sensor placement procedures. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 10:361–374PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hoffrén M, Ishikawa M, Avela J, Komi PV (2012) Age-related fascicle-tendon interaction in repetitive hopping. Eur J Appl Physiol 112:4035–4043PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ishikawa M, Komi PV (2007) The role of the stretch reflex in the gastrocnemius muscle during human locomotion at various speeds. J Appl Physiol 103:1030–1036PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ishikawa M, Komi PV (2008) Muscle fascicle and tendon behavior during human locomotion revisited. Exerc Sport Sci Rev 36:193–199PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ishikawa M, Dousset E, Avela J, Kyröläinen H, Kallio J, Linnamo V, Kuitunen S, Nicol C, Komi PV (2006) Changes in the soleus muscle architecture after exhausting stretch-shortening cycle exercise in humans. Eur J Appl Physiol 97:298–306PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Ishikawa M, Pakaslahti J, Komi PV (2007) Medial gastrocnemius muscle behavior during human running and walking. Gait Posture 25:380–384PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kawakami Y, Muraoka T, Ito S, Kanehisa H, Fukunaga T (2002) In vivo muscle fibre behaviour during counter-movement exercise in humans reveals a significant role for tendon elasticity. J Physiol 540:635–646PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Komi PV, Ishikawa M (2007) Tendinopathy in athletes. In: Woo SLY, Renström PAFH, Arnoczky SP (eds) In vivo function of human Achilles and patella tendons during normal locomotion (chapter 8). Wiley-Blackwell, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  16. Komi PV, Nicol C (2011) Neuromuscular aspects of sport performance, Volume XVII. In: Komi PV (ed) Stretch-shortening cycle of muscle function. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, pp 15–31Google Scholar
  17. Komi PV, Gollhofer A, Schmidtbleicher D, Frick U (1987) Interaction between man and shoe in running: considerations for a more comprehensive measurement approach. Int J Sports Med 8:196–202PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kubo K, Kanehisa H, Takeshita D, Kawakami Y, Fukashiro S, Fukunaga T (2000) In vivo dynamics of human medial gastrocnemius muscle-tendon complex during stretch-shortening cycle exercise. Acta Physiol Scand 170:127–135PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Larsen HB (2003) Kenyan dominance in distance running. Comp Biochem Physiol A 136:161–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lichtwark GA, Wilson AM (2005) Effects of series elasticity and activation conditions on muscle power output and efficiency. J Exp Biol 208:2845–2853PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lichtwark GA, Wilson AM (2006) Interactions between the human gastrocnemius muscle and the Achilles tendon during incline, level and decline locomotion. J Exp Biol 209:4379–4388PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. McBride JM, McCaulley GO, Cormie P (2008) Influence of preactivity and eccentric muscle activity on concentric performance during vertical jumping. J Strength Cond Res 22:750–757PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. McDonagh MJN, Duncan A (2002) Interaction of pre-programmed control and natural stretch reflexes in human landing movements. J Physiol 544:985–994PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Saltin B, Kim CK, Terrados N, Larsen H, Svedenhag J, Rolf CJ (1995a) Morphology, enzyme activities and buffer capacity in leg muscles of Kenyan and Scandinavian runners. Scand J Med Sci Sports 5:222–230PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Saltin B, Larsen H, Terrados N, Bangsbo J, Bak T, Kim CK, Svedenhag J, Rolf CJ (1995b) Aerobic exercise capacity at sea level and at altitude in Kenyan boys, junior and senior runners compared with Scandinavian runners. Scand J Med Sci Sports 5:209–221PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Scholz MN, Bobbert MF, van Soest AJ, Clark LR, van Heerden J (2008) Running biomechanics: shorter heels, better economy. J Exp Biol 211:3266–3271PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Sano
    • 1
  • M. Ishikawa
    • 1
  • A. Nobue
    • 1
  • Y. Danno
    • 1
  • M. Akiyama
    • 1
  • T. Oda
    • 2
  • A. Ito
    • 1
  • M. Hoffrén
    • 5
  • C. Nicol
    • 3
  • E. Locatelli
    • 4
  • P. V. Komi
    • 5
  1. 1.Osaka University of Health and Sport SciencesOsakaJapan
  2. 2.Hyogo University of Teacher EducationHyogoJapan
  3. 3.Aix-Marseille UniversityMarseilleFrance
  4. 4.International Association of Athletics FederationsMonacoMonaco
  5. 5.Likes Research Center, University of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland

Personalised recommendations