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J Biomech. 1993 Jan;26(1):1-8.

The influence of the biarticularity of the gastrocnemius muscle on vertical-jumping achievement.

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Faculty of Human Movement Sciences, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Hypotheses concerning the influence of changes in the design of the human musculoskeletal system on performance cannot be tested experimentally. Computer modelling and simulation provide a research methodology that does allow manipulation of the system's design. In the present study this methodology was used to test a recently formulated hypothesis concerning the role of the biarticularity of the gastrocnemius muscle (GAS) in vertical jumping [Bobbert and van Ingen Schenau, J. Biomechanics 21, 249-262 (1988)]. This was done by comparing maximal jump heights for a model equipped with biarticular GAS with a model equipped with a monoarticular GAS. It was found that jump height decreased by 10 mm when GAS was changed into a monoarticular muscle. Thus, the hypothesis formulated by Bobbert was substantiated, although quantitatively the effect is small. Our result differs from that of Pandy and Zajac [J. Biomechanics 24, 1-10 (1991)], who performed similar model calculations. It is shown that the results described by these authors can be explained from the moment-arm-joint-angle relation of GAS at the knee in their model.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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