Muscle fiber and tendon length changes in the human vastus lateralis during slow pedaling

T. Muraoka, Y. Kawakami, M. Tachi, T. Fukunaga*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Muscle fascicle lengths of vastus lateralis (VL) muscle were measured in five healthy men during slow pedaling to investigate the interaction between muscle fibers and tendon. Subjects cycled at a pedaling rate of 40 rpm (98 W). During exercise, fascicle lengths changed from 91 ± 7 (SE) to 127 ± 5 mm. It was suggested that fascicles were on the descending limb of their force-length relationship. The average shortening velocity of fascicle was greater than that of muscle-tendon complex in the first half of the knee extension phase and was less in the second half. The maximum shortening velocity of fascicle in the knee extension phase was less than that of muscle-tendon complex by 22 ± 9%. These discrepancies in velocities were mainly caused by the elongation of the tendinous tissue. It was suggested that the elasticity of VL tendinous tissue enabled VL fascicles to develop force at closer length to their optimal length and kept the maximum shortening velocity of VL fascicles low during slow pedaling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2035-2040
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Force-length relationship
  • Tendon elasticity
  • Ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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