Sarcomere length and joint kinematics during torque production in frog hindlimb

R. L. Lieber, J. L. Boakes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


The relationship between semitendinosus muscle force and knee joint kinematics during isometric torque production was examined in the frog (Rana pipiens) hindlimb. Passive muscle sarcomere length was monitored by laser diffraction during knee rotation, and joint center of rotation was determined later using principles of rigid body kinematics. Contractile force at the distal tibia, resulting from semitendinosus contraction, was also measured, and, using the kinematic data, a torque vs. joint angle curve constructed. Muscle sarcomere length varied from 3.6 μm at full knee extension to 2.0 μm at full knee flexion. Effective lever arm varied almost as a sine function, with optimal lever arm at 90° of flexion. Joint torque increased linearly from 0 to 140° of flexion and then sharply decreased at an angle (140°) that was neither the angle at which muscle force was maximum (160°) nor the angle at which the effective lever arm was maximum (90°). These data indicate that knee torque production in the frog results from the interaction between muscular and joint properties and not either property alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23/6
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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