Muscle Mechanics: The Engine of Human Motion
Directly or indirectly the driving force behind human motion is muscular contraction. The study of muscle mechanics is a scientific discipline in it’s own right and has been the subject of extensive research. It would be difficult to understand how tennis athletes and their coaches could develop high-level tennis performance with out a significant understanding of muscular metabolism, development and function.
Knowledge of the muscular system is mandatory to understanding movement, training and less obvious, stroke mechanics. Passive (naturally occurring) or coached development of stroke technique must treat muscle mechanics as the primary consideration both in terms of generating racquet speed but also in preventing injury. The Muscle Mechanics section of the Sport Science category will focus on the manner in which the function of muscle impacts the development of stroke technique.
The amount of force or power a muscle can produce is variable – that is, under some conditions a muscle can produce more force than under other conditions. It follows then that when building strokes the most optimal force producing conditions should be targeted in each phase of the swing and for each muscle responsible for driving the motion. The following articles in this section will describe muscle function and address the variability of muscle force production by evaluating the different conditions under which the muscles operate. These will include:
- Muscle contractile model
- Muscular action in skeletal motion
- Muscle contractile states
- Muscle force as function of length
- Muscle force as a function of contractile speed
- Stretch-Shorten Cycle