A comparison of contractile properties in human arm and leg muscles
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Isometric twitch properties have been compared in two pairs of opposing human limb muscles; these were the brachial biceps and triceps, and the anterior tibial and plantarflexor muscles. All four muscles were examined in each of 24 healthy subjects (16 men and 8 women). The brachial triceps had the shortest contraction and half-relaxation times and the greatest twitch potentiation, while the plantarflexors had the most prolonged twitches and least potentiation; the anterior tibial and brachial biceps muscles had similar characteristics. Susceptibility to fatigue was less in the plantarflexors than in the other three muscles. When muscles were assessed without reference to their anatomical sites, a significant relationship was noted between contraction time and potentiation, but not between either of these features and fatiguability. There was no evidence that muscles were uniformly 'faster' or 'slower' in some subjects than in others.
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