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Taku Wakahara, Hiroaki Kanehisa, Yasuo Kawakami, Tetsuo Fukunaga and Toshimasa Yanai

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between muscle architecture of the triceps brachii (TB) and joint performance during concentric elbow extensions. Twenty-two men performed maximal isometric and concentric elbow extensions against various loads. Joint torque and angular velocity during concentric contractions were measured, and joint power was calculated. Muscle length, cross-sectional areas, and volume of TB were measured from magnetic resonance images. Pennation angle (PA) of TB at rest was determined by ultrasonography. The PA was significantly correlated with the maximal isometric torque (r = .471), but not to the torque normalized by muscle volume (r = .312). A significant correlation was found between PA and the angular velocity at 0 kg load (r = .563), even when the angular velocity was normalized by the muscle length (r = .536). The PA was significantly correlated with the maximal joint power (r = .519), but not with the power normalized by muscle volume (r = .393). These results suggest that PA has a positive influence on the muscle shortening velocity during an unloaded movement, but does not have a significant influence on the maximum power generation in untrained men.

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Yoann Blache, Maarten Bobbert, Sebastien Argaud, Benoit Pairot de Fontenay and Karine M. Monteil

In experiments investigating vertical squat jumping, the HAT segment is typically defined as a line drawn from the hip to some point proximally on the upper body (eg, the neck, the acromion), and the hip joint as the angle between this line and the upper legs (θUL-HAT). In reality, the hip joint is the angle between the pelvis and the upper legs (θUL-pelvis). This study aimed to estimate to what extent hip joint definition affects hip joint work in maximal squat jumping. Moreover, the initial pelvic tilt was manipulated to maximize the difference in hip joint work as a function of hip joint definition. Twenty-two male athletes performed maximum effort squat jumps in three different initial pelvic tilt conditions: backward (pelvisB), neutral (pelvisN), and forward (pelvisF). Hip joint work was calculated by integrating the hip net joint torque with respect to θUL-HAT (WUL-HAT) or with respect to θUL-pelvis (WUL-pelvis). θUL-HAT was greater than θUL-pelvis in all conditions. WUL-HAT overestimated WUL-pelvis by 33%, 39%, and 49% in conditions pelvisF, pelvisN, and pelvisB, respectively. It was concluded that θUL-pelvis should be measured when the mechanical output of hip extensor muscles is estimated.

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Stephanie E. Forrester and Matthew T.G. Pain

This study aimed to identify areas of reduced surface EMG amplitude and changed frequency across the phase space of a maximal dynamic knee extension task. The hypotheses were that (1) amplitude would be lower for eccentric contractions compared with concentric contractions and unaffected by fiber length and (2) mean frequency would also be lower for eccentric contractions and unaffected by fiber length. Joint torque and EMG signals from the vasti and rectus femoris were recorded for eight athletic subjects performing maximum knee extensions at 13 preset crank velocities spanning ±300°⋅s−1. The instantaneous amplitude and mean frequency were calculated using the continuous wavelet transform time–frequency method, and the fiber dynamics were determined using a muscle model of the knee extensions. The results indicated that (1) only for the rectus femoris were amplitudes significantly lower for eccentric contractions (p = .019) and, for the vasti, amplitudes during eccentric contractions were less than maximal but this was also the case for concentric contractions due to a significant reduction in amplitude toward knee extension (p = .023), and (2) mean frequency increased significantly with decreasing fiber length for all knee extensors and contraction velocities (p = .029). Using time–frequency processing of the EMG signals and a muscle model allowed the simultaneous assessment of fiber length, velocity, and EMG.

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Michael L. Madigan

The purpose of this study was to investigate agerelated differences in muscle power during a surrogate task of trip recovery. Participants included 10 healthy young men (19–23 years old) and 10 healthy older men (65–83). The task involved releasing participants from a forward-leaning posture. After release, participants attempted to recover their balance using a single step of the right foot. Muscle power at the hip, knee, and ankle of the stepping limb were determined from the product of joint angular velocity and joint torque. Muscle powers during balance recovery followed a relatively consistent pattern in both young and older men, and showed effects of both lean and age. Interestingly, the effects of age did not always involve smaller peak power values in the older men as expected from the well-documented loss of muscle power with aging. Older men exhibited smaller peak muscle power at the knee and larger peak muscle power at the ankle and hip compared to young men. The increases in muscle power at the ankle and hip may result from a neuromuscular adaptation aimed at improving balance recovery ability by compensating for the age-related loss of muscle function.

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Hideyuki Ishii, Toshio Yanagiya, Hisashi Naito, Shizuo Katamoto and Takeo Maruyama

The objective of this study was to investigate the factors affecting ball velocity at the final instant of the impact phase (t 1) in full instep soccer kicking. Five experienced male university soccer players performed maximal full instep kicks for various foot impact points using a one-step approach. The kicking motions were captured two dimensionally by a high-speed camera at 2,500 fps. The theoretical equation of the ball velocity at t 1 given in the article was derived based on the impact dynamics theory. The validity of the theoretical equation was verified by comparing the theoretical relationship between the impact point and the ball velocity with the experimental one. Using this theoretical equation, the relationship between the impact point and the ball velocity was simulated. The simulation results indicated that the ball velocity is more strongly affected by the foot velocity at the initial instant of the impact phase than by other factors. The simulation results also indicated that decreasing the ankle joint reaction force during ball impact shifts the impact point that produces the greatest ball velocity to the toe side and decreasing the ankle joint torque during ball impact shifts the impact point that produces the greatest ball velocity to the ankle side.

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Hans H.C.M. Savelberg, Ingrid G.L. Van de Port and Paul J.B. Willems

By manipulating trunk angle in ergometer cycling, we studied the effect of body configuration on muscle recruitment and joint kinematics. Changing trunk angle affects the length of muscles that span the hip joint. It is hypothesized that this affects the recruitment of the muscles directly involved, and as a consequence of affected joint torque distributions, also influences the recruitment of more distal muscles and the kinematics of distal joints. It was found that changing the trunk from an upright position to approximately 20 deg forward or backward affected muscle activation patterns and kinematics in the entire lower limb. The knee joint was the only joint not affected by manipulation of the lengths of hip joint muscles. Changes in trunk angle affected ankle and hip joint kinematics and the orientation of the thigh. A similar pattern has been demonstrated for muscle activity: Both the muscles that span the hip joint and those acting on the ankle joint were affected with respect to timing and amplitude of EMG. Moreover, it was found that the association between muscle activity and muscle length was adapted to manipulation of trunk angle. In all three conditions, most of the muscles that were considered displayed some eccentric activity. The ratio of eccentric to concentric activity changed with trunk angle. The present study showed that trunk angle influences muscle recruitment and (inter)muscular dynamics in the entire limb. As this will have consequences for the efficiency of cycling, body configuration should be a factor in bicycle design.

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Julien Jacquier-Bret, Arnaud Faupin, Nasser Rezzoug and Philippe Gorce

The aim of this study was to propose a new index called Postural Force Production Index (PFPI) for evaluating the force production during handcycling. For a given posture, it assesses the force generation capacity in all Cartesian directions by linking the joint configuration to the effective force applied on the handgrips. Its purpose is to give insight into the force pattern of handcycling users, and could be used as ergonomic index. The PFPI is based on the force ellipsoid, which belongs to the class of manipulability indices and represents the overall force production capabilities at the hand in all Cartesian directions from unit joint torques. The kinematics and kinetics of the arm were recorded during a 1-min exercise test on a handcycle at 70 revolutions per minute performed by one paraplegic expert in handcycling. The PFPI values were compared with the Fraction Effective Force (FEF), which is classically associated with the effectiveness of force application. The results showed a correspondence in the propulsion cycle between FEF peaks and the most favorable postures to produce a force tangential to the crank rotation (PFPI). This preliminary study opens a promising way to study patterns of force production in the framework of handcycling movement analysis.

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Tom G. Welter and Maarten F. Bobbert

We have investigated, in fast movements, the hypothesis that bi-articular muscles are preferentially selected to control me direction of force exerted on the environment, while mono-articular muscles are selected to control both this exerted force direction as well as the movement direction. Fourteen subjects performed ballistic arm movements involving shoulder and elbow rotations in the horizontal plane, either with or without an external force applied at the wrist. Joint torques required to counteract the external force were in the same order of magnitude as those required to overcome the inertial load during movements. EMG was recorded from mono- and bi-articular flexors and extensors of me elbow and shoulder. Signals were rectified and integrated (IREMG) over 100 ms following the first detected activity. MANOVA revealed mat, contrary to the hypothesis, IREMG of bi-articular muscles varied with movement direction just as that of the mono-articular muscles. It was concluded that the present data do not support me hypothesis mentioned above. A second finding was that movement effects on IREMG were much stronger than external force effects. This could not be explained using Hill's force-velocity relationship. It may be an indication that in the initiation of fast movements, IREMG is not only tuned to movement dynamics and muscle contractile properties, but also to me dynamics of the build up of an active state of the muscle.

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Seong-won Han, Andrew Sawatsky, Azim Jinha and Walter Herzog

Vastus medialis (VM) weakness is thought to alter patellar tracking, thereby changing the loading of the patellofemoral joint (PFJ), resulting in patellofemoral pain. However, it is challenging to measure VM force and weakness in human studies, nor is it possible to measure the associated mechanical changes in the PFJ. To obtain fundamental insight into VM weakness and its effects on PFJ mechanics, the authors determined PFJ loading in the presence of experimentally simulated VM weakness. Skeletally mature New Zealand White rabbits were used (n = 6), and the vastus lateralis, VM, and rectus femoris were stimulated individually through 3 custom-built nerve cuff electrodes. Muscle torque and PFJ pressure distribution were measured while activating all muscles simultaneously, or when the vastus lateralis and rectus femoris were activated, while VM was not, to simulate a quadriceps muscle strength imbalance. For a given muscular joint torque, peak pressures were greater and joint contact areas were smaller when simulating VM weakness compared with the condition where all muscles were activated simultaneously. The results in the rabbit model support that VM weakness results in altered PFJ loading, which may cause patellofemoral pain, often associated with a strength imbalance of the knee extensor muscle group.

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Mont Hubbard, Robin L. Hibbard, Maurice R. Yeadon and Andrzej Komor

This paper presents a planar, four-segment, dynamic model for the flight mechanics of a ski jumper. The model consists of skis, legs, torso and head, and arms. Inputs include net joint torques that are used to vary the relative body configurations of the jumper during flight. The model also relies on aerodynamic data from previous wind tunnel tests that incorporate the effects of varying body configuration and orientation on lift, drag, and pitching moment. A symbolic manipulation program, “Macsyma,” is used to derive the equations of motion automatically. Experimental body segment orientation data during the flight phase are presented for three ski jumpers which show how jumpers of varying ability differ in flight and demonstrate the need for a more complex analytical model than that previously presented in the literature. Simulations are presented that qualitatively match the measured trajectory for a good jumper. The model can be used as a basis for the study of optimal jumper behavior in flight which maximizes jump distance.