Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Journal of Biomechanics



PubMed ID





School of Medical and Health Sciences




Australasian Society for Human Biology / Australian Government Research Training Program


Daros Pinto, M., Nosaka, K., & Blazevich, A. J. (2024). In vivo human medial gastrocnemius fascicle behaviour and belly gear during submaximal eccentric contractions are not affected by concentric fatiguing exercise. Journal of Biomechanics, 162, article 111895.


Changes in muscle geometry and belly gearing during eccentric contractions influence fibre strain and susceptibility to muscle damage. They are modulated by the interaction between connective tissues and intracellular-intrafascicular fluid pressures and external pressures from neighbouring structures. Fatiguing exercise triggers fluid shifts (muscle swelling) and muscle activation changes that may influence these modulators. Our purpose was to measure medial gastrocnemius (MG) geometric changes in vivo during eccentric contractions before and after maximal concentric muscle work to test the hypothesis that fatigue would reduce fascicle rotation and muscle gear and provoke greater fascicle strain. Submaximal eccentric plantar flexor contractions at 40% and 60% of maximal eccentric torque were performed on an isokinetic dynamometer at 5°.s−1 before and immediately after the fatiguing exercise. MG fascicles and muscle–tendon junction were captured using ultrasonography during contractions, allowing quantification of geometric changes, whole-MG length, and belly gear ( muscle length/ fascicle length). Triceps surae (TS) activation was estimated using surface electromyography and the distribution of activations between synergistic muscles was then determined. After exercise, concentric torque decreased ∼39% and resting muscle thickness increased by 4%, indicating muscle fatigue and swelling, respectively. While soleus (Sol) activation and the Sol/TS ratio increased, no changes in MG, MG/TS ratio or fascicle rotation during the contraction were detected. Thus, fascicle lengthening and belly gear remained unaltered. Changes in muscle thickness during contraction was also similar before and after exercise, suggesting that changes in muscle shape were relatively unaffected by the exercise. Consequently, the muscle maintained mechanical integrity after the fatiguing muscle work.



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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.