Muscle resistance to slow ramp weakly depends on activation level

V. S. Gurfinkel, Y. P. Ivanenko, Y. S. Levik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The mechanical response of human m. flexor pollicis longus to slow (3.2°/s) linear stretch by 5.5°was measured during sustained (45-60s, 9- 13.5p.p.s.) unfused tetanus evoked by electrical stimulation. The stiffness increased during unfused tetanus. At the late phase of unfused tetanus it was 1.8 ± 0.2 (mean ± S.D.) times greater than at the early phase. The sensitivity of the isometric tension level to a short change in a stimulation frequency also increased. At the late phase of unfused tetanus force oscillations increased 1.2 ± 0.2-fold during slow stretch or shortening and immediately reached a smaller amplitude after the cessation of length change. This was probably related to the friction and thixotropy in muscles. Muscle resistance to slow ramp depended only weakly on activation level. In the late phase of unfused tetanus the stiffness per unit force was 1.5±0.4 times greater at 9-13.5 p.p.s. than at 20-25 p.p.s. Thus, the relative value of muscle stiffness was greater for smaller activation levels typical for maintenance or posture. The enhancement of muscle stiffness during sustained unfused tetanus and a weak stiffness dependence on the activation level indicated a non-additivity of processes occurring in active muscle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-306
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 25 1997


  • Activation level
  • Human
  • Skeletal muscle
  • Stretch
  • Unfused tetanus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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