Joint and muscle-tendon coordination strategies during submaximal jumping

Logan Wade, Glen A Lichtwark, Dominic J Farris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (SciVal)


Previous research has demonstrated that during submaximal jumping humans prioritize reducing energy consumption by minimizing countermovement depth. However, sometimes movement is constrained to a nonpreferred pattern, and this requires adaptation of neural control that accounts for complex interactions between muscle architecture, muscle properties, and task demands. This study compared submaximal jumping with either a preferred or a deep countermovement depth to examine how joint and muscle mechanics are integrated into the adaptation of coordination strategies in the deep condition. Three-dimensional motion capture, two force plates, electromyography, and ultrasonography were used to examine changes in joint kinetics and kinematics, muscle activation, and muscle kinematics for the lateral gastrocnemius and soleus. Results demonstrated that a decrease in ankle joint work during the deep countermovement depth was due to increased knee flexion, leading to unfavorably short biarticular muscle lengths and reduced active fascicle length change during ankle plantar flexion. Therefore, ankle joint work was likely decreased because of reduced active fascicle length change and operating position on the force-length relationship. Hip joint work was significantly increased as a result of altered muscle activation strategies, likely due to a substantially greater hip extensor muscle activation period compared with plantar flexor muscles during jumping. Therefore, coordination strategies at individual joints are likely influenced by time availability, where a short plantar flexor activation time results in dependence on muscle properties, instead of simply altering muscle activation, while the longer time for contraction of muscles at the hip allows for adjustments to voluntary neural control.NEW & NOTEWORTHY Using human jumping as a model, we show that adapting movement patterns to altered task demands is achieved differently by muscles across the leg. Because of proximal-to-distal sequencing, distal muscles (i.e., plantar flexors) have reduced activation periods and, as a result, rely on muscle contractile properties (force-length relationship) for adjusting joint kinetics. For proximal muscles that have greater time availability, voluntary activation is modulated to adjust muscle outputs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)596-603
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


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