The purpose of this study was twofold: (a) to systematically investigate the effect of altering specific neuromuscular parameters on maximum vertical jump height, and (b) to systematically investigate the effect of strengthening specific muscle groups on maximum vertical jump height. A two-dimensional musculoskeletal model which consisted of four rigid segments, three joints, and six Hill-type muscle models, representing the six major muscles and muscle groups in the lower extremity that contribute to jumping performance, was trained systematically. Maximum isometric muscle force, maximum muscle shortening velocity, and maximum muscle activation, which were manipulated to simulate the effects of strength training, all had substantial effects on jumping performance. Part of the increase in jumping performance could be explained solely by the interaction between the three neuromuscular parameters. It appeared that the most effective way to improve jumping performance was to train the knee extensors among all lower extremity muscles. For the model to fully benefit from any training effects of the neuromuscular system, it was necessary to continue to reoptimize the muscle coordination, in particular after the strength training sessions that focused on increasing maximum isometric muscle force.
Akinori Nagano and Karin G.M. Gerritsen
Karin G.M. Gerritsen, Anton J. van den Bogert, Manuel Hulliger and Ronald F. Zernicke
The purpose of this study was to investigate, theoretically, to what extent muscle properties could contribute to recovery from perturbations during locomotion. Four models with different actuator properties were created: the FLVT model, which encompassed force-length (FL) and force-velocity (FV) characteristics of human muscles as well as muscle stimulation inputs as functions of time (T); the FLT model, which had muscles without force-velocity characteristics; the FVT model, which had muscles without specific force-length characteristics; and the MT model, which had no muscles but was driven by joint moments (M) as a function of time. Each model was exposed to static and dynamic perturbations and its response was examined. FLVT showed good resistance to both static and dynamic perturbations. FLT was resistant to static perturbation but could not counteract dynamic perturbation, whereas the opposite was found for FVT. MT could not counteract either of the perturbations. Based on the results of the simulations, skeletal muscle force-length-velocity properties, although interactively complex, contribute substantially to the dynamic stability of the musculoskeletal system.