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Stephanie L. Jones and Graham E. Caldwell

This study examined the role of mono- and biarticular muscles in control of countermovement jumps (CMJ) in different directions. It was hypothesized that monoarticular muscles would demonstrate the same activity regardless of jump direction, based on previous studies which suggest their role is to generate energy to maximize center-of-mass (CM) velocity. In contrast, biarticular activity patterns were expected to change to control the direction of the ground reaction force (GRF) and CM velocity vectors. Twelve participants performed maximal CMJs in four directions: vertical, forward, intermediate forward, and backward. Electromyographical data from 4 monoarticular and 3 biarticular lower extremity muscles were analyzed with respect to segmental kinematics and kinetics during the jumps. The biarticular rectus femoris (RF), hamstrings (HA), and gastrocnemius all exhibited changes in activity magnitude and pattern as a function of jump angle. In particular, HA and RF demonstrated reciprocal trends, with HA activity increasing as jump angle changed from backward to forward, while RF activity was reduced in the forward jump condition. The vastus lateralis and gluteus maximus both demonstrated changes in activity patterns, although the former was the only monoarticular muscle to change activity level with jump direction. Mono- and biarticular muscle activities therefore did not fit with their hypothesized roles. CM and segmental kinematics suggest that jump direction was initiated early in the countermovement, and that in each jump direction the propulsion phase began from a different position with unique angular and linear momentum. Issues that dictated the muscle activity patterns in each jump direction were the early initiation of appropriate forward momentum, the transition from countermovement to propulsion, the control of individual segment rotations, the control of GRF location and direction, and the influence of the subsequent landing.

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Filipe Conceição, Mark A. King, Maurice R. Yeadon, Martin G.C. Lewis and Stephanie E. Forrester

This study aimed to determine whether subject-specific individual muscle models for the ankle plantar flexors could be obtained from single joint isometric and isovelocity maximum torque measurements in combination with a model of plantar flexion. Maximum plantar flexion torque measurements were taken on one subject at six knee angles spanning full flexion to full extension. A planar three-segment (foot, shank and thigh), two-muscle (soleus and gastrocnemius) model of plantar flexion was developed. Seven parameters per muscle were determined by minimizing a weighted root mean square difference (wRMSD) between the model output and the experimental torque data. Valid individual muscle models were obtained using experimental data from only two knee angles giving a wRMSD score of 16 N m, with values ranging from 11 to 17 N m for each of the six knee angles. The robustness of the methodology was confirmed through repeating the optimization with perturbed experimental torques (±20%) and segment lengths (±10%) resulting in wRMSD scores of between 13 and 20 N m. Hence, good representations of maximum torque can be achieved from subject-specific individual muscle models determined from single joint maximum torque measurements. The proposed methodology could be applied to muscle-driven models of human movement with the potential to improve their validity.

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Kohei Watanabe, Motoki Kouzaki and Toshio Moritani

In some muscles, nonuniform surface electromyography (EMG) responses have been demonstrated within a muscle, meaning that the electrode location could be critical in the results of surface EMG. The current study investigated possible region-specific EMG responses within the human biceps femoris (BF) muscle. Surface EMG was recorded from various regions along the longitudinal axis of the BF muscle with 20 electrodes. Ten healthy men performed maximal isometric contractions of hip extension and knee flexion, which involve the BF muscle. The ratio of the EMG amplitude between hip extension and knee flexion tasks (HE/KF) was calculated and compared among the regions. There were no significant differences in HE/KF among the regions along the BF muscle (P > .05). This suggests that the entire superficial region of the BF muscle is equally regulated in the 2 different tasks. We suggest that the electrode location is not critical in estimating the activation properties and/or functional role of the superficial region, which corresponds with approximately 50% of the muscle length of the BF muscle, using surface EMG during maximal contraction.

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Nicholas Tam, Ross Tucker, Jordan Santos-Concejero, Danielle Prins and Robert P. Lamberts

support the findings of Heise et al, 28 who described an improved oxygen cost of transport with longer activation of biarticular muscles during swing. However, in contrast to Heise et al, 28 our findings relate to the ground contact phase rather than the swing phase. These findings further suggest that

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Curtis Kindel and John Challis

insights into the etiology of patellofemoral syndrome. In addition when assessing the hip extension strength curve, the role of the biarticular muscles which contribute to this moment can be assessed by systematically changing the knee joint angle. 9 However, efficient movement requires more than simply

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Debra G. George-Reichley and Jill S. Higginson

The understanding of individual muscle impairments that affect swing phase in stroke gait will lead to better rehabilitation strategies for this population. We used induced acceleration analysis to evaluate the potential each muscle has to accelerate the hip and knee joints of the swing limb, using kinematics from three stroke subjects and five healthy subjects. To determine the influence of altered limb position on muscle function, we augmented hip extension by 10° in swing phase for all subjects. We found that in early swing, healthy subjects had greater potential to accelerate the knee into flexion than stroke subjects, whereas stroke subjects had greater potential to accelerate the hip into flexion. Perturbing the hip flexion angle into greater extension increased the potential of biarticular muscles to flex the knee in swing phase. The potential of muscles to improve swing phase dynamics depends on the initial posture of the limb and highlights the importance of subject-specific evaluations in the design of appropriate therapeutic interventions.

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Witaya Mathiyakom, Jill L. McNitt-Gray and Rand R. Wilcox

Angular impulse generation is dependent on the position of the total body center of mass (CoM) relative to the ground reaction force (GRF) vector during contact with the environment. The purpose of this study was to determine how backward angular impulse was regulated during two forward translating tasks. Control of the relative angle between the CoM and the GRF was hypothesized to be mediated by altering trunk–leg coordination. Eight highly skilled athletes performed a series of standing reverse somersaults and reverse timers. Sagittal plane kinematics, GRF, and electromyograms of lower extremity muscles were acquired during the take-off phase of both tasks. The magnitude of the backward angular impulse generated during the push interval of both tasks was mediated by redirecting the GRF relative to the CoM. During the reverse timer, backward angular impulse generated during the early part of the take-off phase was negated by limiting backward trunk rotation and redirecting the GRF during the push interval. Biarticular muscles crossing the knee and hip coordinated the control of GRF direction and CoM trajectory via modulation of trunk–leg coordination.

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André Luiz Felix Rodacki, Neil Edward Fowler and Simon Bennett

The aim of this study was to compare the kinematic pattern and the segmental movement co-ordination when the trunk segment was constrained in different positions during plyometric rebound jumps. Nine skilled volleyball players, experienced in plyometric training, were asked to perform a random series of maximal rebound jumps, using three different seat arrangements (90°, 135°, and 180°) in a pendulum swing device. From two-dimensional filming, performed in a right sagittal plane at 200 Hz, it was possible to calculate ankle, knee, and hip displacements; velocities; and muscle-tendon lengths. The subjects showed similar ankle and knee angles between experimental conditions. The hip joint angle differed significantly between conditions. Only the muscle-tendon lengths of the biarticular muscles spanning the knee/hip were affected by the seat arrangement variations. Significantly greater knee angular velocities were observed in the upright sitting posture (90°). The hip was consistently the first joint to extend. The ankle and knee joint reversals were not invariant, regardless of the seat arrangement. The movement co-ordination strategy did not differ across postural variations.

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Samantha L. Winter and John H. Challis

The muscle fiber force–length relationship has been explained in terms of the cross-bridge theory at the sarcomere level. In vivo, for a physiologically realistic range of joint motion, and therefore range of muscle fiber lengths, only part of the force–length curve may be used; that is, the section of the force– length curve expressed can vary. The purpose of this study was to assess the accuracy of a method for determining the expressed section of the force– length curve for biarticular muscles. A muscle model was used to simulate the triceps surae muscle group. Three model formulations were used so that the gastrocnemius operated over different portions of the force–length curve: the ascending limb, the plateau region, and the descending limb. Joint moment data were generated for a range of joint configurations and from this simulated data the region of the force– length relationship that the gastrocnemius muscle operated over was successfully reconstructed using the algorithm of Herzog and ter Keurs (1988a). Further simulations showed that the correct region of the force–length curve was accurately reconstructed even in the presence of random and systematic noise generated to reflect the effects of sampling errors, and incomplete muscle activation.

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D.G.E. Robertson, Jean-Marie J. Wilson and Taunya A. St. Pierre

The purpose of this research was to determine the functions of the gluteus maximus, biceps femoris, semitendinosus, rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, soleus, gastrocnemius, and tibialis anterior muscles about their associated joints during full (deep-knee) squats. Muscle function was determined from joint kinematics, inverse dynamics, electromyography, and muscle length changes. The subjects were six experienced, male weight lifters. Analyses revealed that the prime movers during ascent were the monoarticular gluteus maximus and vasti muscles (as exemplified by vastus lateralis) and to a lesser extent the soleus muscles. The biarticular muscles functioned mainly as stabilizers of the ankle, knee, and hip joints by working eccentrically to control descent or transferring energy among the segments during ascent. During the ascent phase, the hip extensor moments of force produced the largest powers followed by the ankle plantar flexors and then the knee extensors. The hip and knee extensors provided the initial bursts of power during ascent with the ankle extensors and especially a second burst from the hip extensors adding power during the latter half of the ascent.