Neuromuscular factors influencing the maximum stretch limit of the human plantar flexors

  • Blazevich A
  • Cannavan D
  • Waugh C
 et al. 
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Maximum joint range of motion is an important parameter influencing functional performance and musculoskeletal injury risk. Nonetheless, a complete description of the muscle architectural and tendon changes that occur during stretch and the factors influencing maximum range of motion is lacking. We measured muscle-tendon elongation and fascicle lengthening and rotation sonographically during maximal plantar flexor stretches in 21 healthy men. Electromyogram (EMG) recordings were obtained synchronously with ultrasound and joint moment data, and H-reflex measurements were made with the ankle at neutral (0°) and dorsiflexed (50% maximal passive joint moment) positions; the maximum H amplitude (normalized to maximum M-wave amplitude; M(max)) and H-amplitude elicited at a stimulation intensity that evoked 10% M(max) were obtained. Maximal stretch was accomplished through significant muscle (14.9%; 30 mm) and tendon lengthening (8.4%; 22 mm). There were similar relative changes in fascicle length and angle, but planimetric modeling indicated that the contribution of fascicle rotation to muscle lengthening was small (

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  • A. J. Blazevich

  • D. Cannavan

  • C. M. Waugh

  • F. Fath

  • S. C. Miller

  • A. D. Kay

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