Skeletal muscle tissue in movement and health: Positives and negatives

Stan L. Lindstedt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The history of muscle physiology is a wonderful lesson in 'the scientific method'; our functional hypotheses have been limited by our ability to decipher (observe) muscle structure. The simplistic understanding of how muscles work made a large leap with the remarkable insights of A. V. Hill, who related muscle force and power to shortening velocity and energy use. However, Hill's perspective was largely limited to isometric and isotonic contractions founded on isolated muscle properties that do not always reflect how muscles function in vivo. Robert Josephson incorporated lengthening contractions into a work loop analysis that shifted the focus to dynamic muscle function, varying force, length and work done both by and on muscle during a single muscle work cycle. It became apparent that muscle is both a force generator and a spring. Titin, the missing filament in the sliding filament model, is a muscle spring, which functions very differently in cardiac versus skeletal muscle; its possible role in these two muscle types is discussed relative to their contrasting function. The good news for those of us who choose to work on skeletal muscle is that muscle has been reluctant to reveal all of its secrets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-188
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Eccentric
  • Fenn effect
  • Hill plot
  • Titin
  • Work loop

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science


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