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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Explain concentric, isotonic, and eccentric contractions
  • Describe the length-tension relationship
  • Describe the three phases of a muscle twitch
  • Define wave summation, tetanus, and treppe

To move an object, referred to as load, the sarcomeres in the muscle fibers of the skeletal muscle must shorten. The force generated by the contraction of the muscle (or shortening of the sarcomeres) is called muscle tension    . However, muscle tension also is generated when the muscle is contracting against a load that does not move, resulting in two main types of skeletal muscle contractions: isotonic contractions and isometric contractions.

In isotonic contractions , where the tension in the muscle stays constant, a load is moved as the length of the muscle changes (shortens). There are two types of isotonic contractions: concentric and eccentric. A concentric contraction    involves the muscle shortening to move a load. An example of this is the biceps brachii muscle contracting when a hand weight is brought upward with increasing muscle tension. As the biceps brachii contract, the angle of the elbow joint decreases as the forearm is brought toward the body. Here, the biceps brachii contracts as sarcomeres in its muscle fibers are shortening and cross-bridges form; the myosin heads pull the actin. An eccentric contraction    occurs as the muscle tension diminishes and the muscle lengthens. In this case, the hand weight is lowered in a slow and controlled manner as the amount of cross-bridges being activated by nervous system stimulation decreases. In this case, as tension is released from the biceps brachii, the angle of the elbow joint increases. Eccentric contractions are also used for movement and balance of the body.

An isometric contraction    occurs as the muscle produces tension without changing the angle of a skeletal joint. Isometric contractions involve sarcomere shortening and increasing muscle tension, but do not move a load, as the force produced cannot overcome the resistance provided by the load. For example, if one attempts to lift a hand weight that is too heavy, there will be sarcomere activation and shortening to a point, and ever-increasing muscle tension, but no change in the angle of the elbow joint. In everyday living, isometric contractions are active in maintaining posture and maintaining bone and joint stability. However, holding your head in an upright position occurs not because the muscles cannot move the head, but because the goal is to remain stationary and not produce movement. Most actions of the body are the result of a combination of isotonic and isometric contractions working together to produce a wide range of outcomes ( [link] ).

Types of muscle contractions

This figure shows the different types of muscle contraction and the associated body movements. The top panel shows concentric contraction, the middle panel shows eccentric contraction, and the bottom panel shows isometric contraction.
During isotonic contractions, muscle length changes to move a load. During isometric contractions, muscle length does not change because the load exceeds the tension the muscle can generate.

All of these muscle activities are under the exquisite control of the nervous system. Neural control regulates concentric, eccentric and isometric contractions, muscle fiber recruitment, and muscle tone. A crucial aspect of nervous system control of skeletal muscles is the role of motor units.

Questions & Answers

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what factors that affect the rate diffusion
Gift Reply
sorry what are the common meaning of haemostatis
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what are the negatives feedback regulation of ADH
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what is the the differences between DNA and RNA?
Mustapha
The major differences between the DNA and RNA are contain of double stranded and single stranded which the DNA contain duoble stranded and RNA contain single stranded.
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How many genes consist of DNA?
Omaryare
omaryare muhyadiin when you talk about genes, is the material formed in a DNA genes have form like plasma have many genes round there
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aldosterone, renin
Conan
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compare and contrast the operation of homeostasis
Dinelle Reply
what is the difference between an ionic, polar covalent and nonpolar covalent bond?
Dinelle
In summary, the bond has different in electronegativity.
Balogun
sorry help me to get the definition of hemostasis or the meaning
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the definition of distal
Dinelle Reply
farthest away from the attachment point.
felix
Distal, is the farthest possition from the origin or midle point
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exercise physiologist how ?
Noor Reply
hi noorr. when you talk about physiologist its a person who study physiology but exercise physiologist is what an exercise doing by physiologist in physiologican
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can I get the questions of human physiology that is present in HSC 2nd semester
Rafiullah Reply
in my lerning the question com like for example ni eassy qustion must understand the the part of the body and how it work or mechanisms of each part learned
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how can I memorize
mukhtaar Reply
which part of the body produces blood
aadil
give me answer
aadil
Red blood cells are formed in the red bone marrow ofbones. Stem cells in the red bone marrow called hemocytoblasts give rise to all of the formed element
mukhtaar
what is hemocytoblasts
Fatima
hemocytoblasts are stem cells in red bone marrow which give rise the all of formed elements
Khawaja
Discuss clonal theory in physiology and its application in measles infection in a 6yr child? Can anyone help me
Isaac Reply
Capillary permeability
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Ramsin
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syncitium is the property of which of the following muscle
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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
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