SELECTIVE ASSESSMENT OF MUSCLE MECHANICAL PROPERTIES THROUGH LOADED FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENTS

Slobodan Jaric

It has been generally accepted that muscles could have different mechanical capacities, such as those for producing high force, velocity, and power outputs. Nevertheless, the standard testing procedures applied in both research and routine evaluations of muscle function have been typically conducted under a single mechanical condition, such as under a single external load. As a result, the observed outcomes do not allow for distinguishing among the different muscle capacities. Therefore, the outcomes of most of the routine testing procedures have been of limited informational value, while a number of debated issues in research have originated from arbitrarily interpreted experimental findings regarding specific muscle capacities. A solution for the discussed problem could be based on the approximately linear and exceptionally strong force-velocity relationship typically observed from various functional tasks (e.g., maximum jumping, cycling, running, pushing, lifting, or throwing) performed under different external loads. These findings allow for proposing a novel method for testing various functional movement tasks by applying just 2 distinctive external loads. Specifically, the force-velocity relationship determined by 2 points could provide the parameters depicting the maximum force (i.e., the force-intercept), velocity (velocity-intercept), and power (calculated from the product of force and velocity) output of the tested muscles. Therefore, the proposed 'two-loads method' applied in both research and routine testing could provide a deeper insight into the mechanical properties and function of the tested muscles and resolve a number of debated issues in the literature.

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