Frog semitendinosis tendon load-strain and stress-strain properties during passive loading

R. L. Lieber*, M. E. Leonard, C. G. Brown, C. L. Trestik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Scopus citations


The mechanical properties of the frog semitendinosis (ST) tendon, bone-tendon junction, and aponeurosis were measured during passive loading to a tension equal to maximum isometric tension (P(o)). Stiffness and strain in these regions continuously increased as load increased. Tendon stiffness was approximately four times the aponeurosis stiffness. Tendon Young's modulus at P(o) was only 188 MPa, which is ~10 times less than the modulus reported for most mammalian tendons. Similarly, tendon stress at P(o) was only ~3 MPa, which is also less than that predicted for many tendons. Tendon strain at P(o) was ~2% after passive loading. We conclude that different regions of the frog ST tendon have different mechanical properties and that the frog ST tendon operates physiologically in the ''toe'' region of the stress-strain curve with a variable stiffness that increases with load. Taken together, these results have significant implications in understanding muscle-tendon design and neuromotor control strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C86-C92
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number1 30-1
StatePublished - 1991


  • Compliance
  • Muscle contraction
  • Rana pipiens
  • Stiffness
  • Tendon mechanics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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