Estimate of muscle-shortening rate during locomotion

S. L. Lindstedt, H. Hoppeler, K. M. Bard, H. A. Thronson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


All skeletal muscle can produce roughly the same maximal cross-sectional force; however, the power (energy·time-1) required to develop and maintain that force increases with increasing contraction velocity. Thus the rate of muscle tension development may be of primary importance in setting the energy demand of contracting muscle. We have estimated the rate of muscle shortening during terrestrial locomotion in mammals as a function of body mass. The rate of muscle shortening of the knee extensors is much faster in small than large mammals, scaling in proportion to the -0.23 power of mass. This exponent suggests a constant body size-independent relation among skeletal muscle: O2 consumption, mitochondria content, myosin ATpase activity, and in vivo shortening velocity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R699-R703
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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