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Length/Tension Relationship

Length/Tension Relationship - The amount of force generated by a muscle is dependent on sarcomere length.
  • The ability of sarcomere to maximally produce force occurs when sarcomere length results in optimal overlap between actin and myosin. Stretching a sarcomere decreases overlap between actin and myosin filaments and reduces force production (1-3). When length is less than optimal, actin from opposite ends overlap and interfere with cross-bridging, and myosin filament are compressed as they contact the the Z-disk also reducing force (4)
  1. Gordon, A. M., Huxley, A. F., & Julian, F. J. (1966). The variation in isometric tension with sarcomere length in vertebrate muscle fibres. The Journal of physiology, 184(1), 170-192.
  2. Edman, K. A. P. (1966). The relation between sarcomere length and active tension in isolated semitendinosus fibres of the frog. The Journal of Physiology, 183(2), 407-417.
  3. Lieber, R. L., Loren, G. J., & Friden, J. (1994). In vivo measurement of human wrist extensor muscle sarcomere length changes. Journal of neurophysiology, 71(3), 874-881.
  4. Lieber, R. L. (2002). Skeletal muscle structure, function, and plasticity. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.