Skeletal muscle mechanics: Implications for rehabilitation

R. L. Lieber*, S. C. Bodine-Fowler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


Skeletal muscles are the primary organ system responsible for force generation and movement. As such, an improved understanding of normal movement can be obtained by understanding skeletal muscle mechanical properties. In this review, we present the basic mechanical properties of skeletal muscle in a way that relates to their normal function. First, isometric force production is discussed, followed by a presentation of isotonic force production. Then, skeletal muscle architectural properties are presented as a strategy for muscles to specialize in either force production or excursion. Finally, we discuss the relationship between muscles and joints and the significance of this relationship for understanding strength. Based on this presentation, the therapist will have an improved understanding of normal movement and may have insights into developing rehabilitation protocols that can improve function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)844-856
Number of pages13
JournalPhysical therapy
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1993


  • Movement
  • Muscle physiology
  • Muscle structure
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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