The two goals of this study were (a) to evaluate the effects of the series elasticity of the muscle tendon complex on an explosive performance that allows a counter movement, and (b) to determine whether or not a counter movement is automatically generated in the optimal explosive activity, using computer simulation. A computer simulation model of the Hill-type muscle tendon complex, which is composed of a contractile element (CE) and a series elastic element (SEE), was constructed. The proximal end of the CE was affixed to a point in the gravitational field, and a massless supporting object was affixed to the distal end of the SEE. An inertia was held on the supporting object. The goal of the explosive activity was to maximize the height reached by the inertia. A variation of the SEE elasticity was examined within the natural range. The optimal pattern of neural activation input was sought through numerical optimization for each value of the SEE elasticity. Two major findings were obtained: (a) As the SEE elasticity increased, the maximal height reached by the inertia increased. This was primarily due to the enhanced force development of the CE. (b) A counter movement was automatically generated for all values of the SEE elasticity through the numerical optimization. It is suggested that it is beneficial to make a counter movement in order to reach a greater jump height, and the effect of making a counter movement increases as the elasticity of the muscle tendon complex increases.
Center for BioDynamics, Boston Univ., Boston, MA, 02215
Dept. of Computer Engineering & Information Tech., City Univ. of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Dept. of Life Sciences (Sports Sci.), Univ. of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan