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Science

50-Year-Old Assumptions About Muscle Strength Tossed Aside 57

Posted by samzenpus
from the pump-you-up dept.
vinces99 writes "The basics of how a muscle generates power remain the same: Filaments of myosin tugging on filaments of actin shorten, or contract, the muscle – but the power doesn't just come from what's happening straight up and down the length of the muscle, as has been assumed for 50 years. Instead, new research shows that as muscles bulge, the filaments are drawn apart from each other, the myosin tugs at sharper angles over greater distances, and it's that action that deserves credit for half the change in muscle force scientists have been measuring."
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50-Year-Old Assumptions About Muscle Strength Tossed Aside

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  • Rock anchors (Score:5, Interesting)

    by justthinkit (954982) <floyd@just-think-it.com> on Thursday July 11, 2013 @01:11AM (#44247223) Homepage Journal
    Rock anchors expand into the drill hole and thus secure the rod in place. So with muscles, part of the "strength" is from just not letting go. Also brings to mind that wood fibers are made of two quite different ingredients -- long strong fibers, and good "matrixy" glue.
  • I read the article, I can't figure out if the writer was quoting him indirectly or if she is stupid. The model was based on moth flight muscle which is similar to human cardiac muscle, which was properly explained. He did say it can lead to new research in cardio and skeletal disease. I feel pedantic and want to know if the reasercher said that or if it is a case of bad editorializing. Don't shoot the messenger, but I guess in a sense that's what I am doing. So feel free to shoot this post if you think I'm stupid.
    • In standard (boring) writing, you have a topic sentence, followed by supporting sentences. Then you start a new paragraph for a new topic.

      I think you could probably get four different paragraphs out of what you wrote there. Five, if you count the title, which isn't related to your actual post.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Thanshin (1188877)

        In standard (boring) writing, you have a topic sentence, followed by supporting sentences. Then you start a new paragraph for a new topic.

        Also, the aforementioned sentences are constructed with words, which start with a letter, followed, or not, by some more. Then you end that word with a space so you can start with the next word.

        The exception is that after the last word in the sentence, instead of a space, there's a period.

  • "duh" (Score:3, Funny)

    by betterprimate (2679747) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @02:36AM (#44247617)
    Science articulates what millennia of body builders could only say "duh" to.
    • What body builder has ever said that? I can't remember hearing or reading any discuss anything like the article. It's not clear how it relates particularly to body building, either. I tried to figure out how you could use the knowledge from the article to lift more weight, or increase strength, but I can't think of anything.

      Do you have anything in mind?
      • Re:"duh" (Score:5, Funny)

        by lxs (131946) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @06:16AM (#44248497)

        Come on! Even in the '70s in every clip you could hear Arnold shouting "Ze Myocin tugz at Shahpahh angles!" Of course he was stoned out of his gourd when he said that.

      • What body builder has ever said that?

        What body builder has ever NOT said that?

      • by Russ1642 (1087959)

        Please people. Check your sarcasm detectors as they are malfunctioning. The whole 'bodybuilders have known this for years' thing is simply a cliche. The poster was just going for a laugh, and got you bozos instead.

        • by ultranova (717540)

          Please people. Check your sarcasm detectors as they are malfunctioning. The whole 'bodybuilders have known this for years' thing is simply a cliche. The poster was just going for a laugh, and got you bozos instead.

          Or better yet, dispense with sarcasm and humour entirely. They fill page after page with pointless, misleading banter that adds nothing of value to either the topic under solemn consideration or its posters karma score - which should be proof enough that such levity is unwanted here. This is a hi

          • Please people. Check your sarcasm detectors as they are malfunctioning. The whole 'bodybuilders have known this for years' thing is simply a cliche. The poster was just going for a laugh, and got you bozos instead.

            Or better yet, dispense with sarcasm and humour entirely. They fill page after page with pointless, misleading banter that adds nothing of value to either the topic under solemn consideration or its posters karma score - which should be proof enough that such levity is unwanted here. This is a highly respected veneral website; a careless joke here could have far-reaching consequences.

            That's what they use to say about dancing and rock n' roll. Just saying. ;)

            It's the job of the receptor to receive accordingly. Far-reaching consequences are the fault of other readers/posters and not that of the OP -- me.

            Learn how to dance!


  • So having been extremely bored one day I decided to read http://www.amazon.co.uk/Prime-Mover-Natural-History-Muscle/dp/0393021262/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1373528233&sr=8-1&keywords=prime+mover+history+of+muscle [slashdot.org]> this book it covers some interesting bits about how muscle structure was research, dissected and how the muscles work.

    Oh yeah, Steven Vogel wrote in the book that muscles do not actually contract, they expand. The muscle does not condense/contract. Space between filaments increased
  • by MetricT (128876) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @07:59AM (#44248881) Homepage

    Muscle power is purely a function of size or volume. Some people's muscle is inherently stronger than others, whether by nature or nurture.

    I grew up working in the field, building houses with my dad, and otherwise getting the crap worked out of me from an early age. Went to grad school, and would regularly see the jocks working out at the gym who had much more muscle mass than me, but I could take their max weight, add 20%, and do more reps. I enjoyed watching them boggle at that.

    On the flip side, there was a fellow grad student from Eritrea. Scrawny, wiry guy, maybe 140 lbs soaking wet. His bicep/tricep cross-section wasn't much bigger than my wrist. He challenged me to an arm-wrestling contest one day, and instantly and with little exertion pounded my knuckles into the table multiple times until I learned my lesson.

    He reminded me somewhat of those stories you hear about Abraham Lincoln and how surprisingly strong he was.

    http://www.lincolnportrait.com/physical_man.html [lincolnportrait.com]

    • He reminded me somewhat of those stories you hear about Abraham Lincoln and how surprisingly strong he was.

      You have to be strong to hunt vampires.

    • Your scrawny friend had what's referred to as neuromuscular strength and it has nothing to do with aerobic conditioning, and yes, it can be trained. Your friend also probably had lots of what's called "fast twitch" muscle fiber. The proportion is somewhat determined by genetics, but can be influenced by training. There are many, many measures of human strength, power, and endurance. There's three energy systems, as well - neuromuscular (1-15 sec efforts), anerobic (few minutes) and aerobic (10min and up.)
    • by MetricT (128876)

      I obviously meant to say "Muscle power *isn't* purely a function of...".

    • It's also about levers. I wonder if people like your arm-mangling Eritrean friend have more favorable muscle insertions, e.g, Chimpanzees being considerably stronger pound for pound than humans? http://brettpyne.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/chimpanzee-strength-vs-human-strength/ [wordpress.com]

  • What I took from TFA was that it's not the "sharper angles" that add to the power, but the way the fibres stack up as muscles get thicker - greater length of the area where the fibres touch means greater force, as a myosin fibril has lots of 'heads' that provide the force for moving, and where there's too little overlap between actin (the 'inert' structural fibre) and myosin (the active, moving) fibres, only a few heads from one myosin fibre will be able to grip the actin. As they slide towards each other t

  • Want to know the biggest mistake and myth: That you need to stretch before exercising..
    • by zzsmirkzz (974536)
      They only recommend you do that to prevent you from over-extending and hurting yourself. It's about pushing your muscles to their max constriction in a slow and controlled manner before you do it again with weight, speed, and/or bad form.
      • Right. but when I see people doing 20-30 minute stretches.,,,,please!
        • by zzsmirkzz (974536)
          Well, now that's a different story. Unless they are going for improved flexibility (which I'm not sure if it would help) that is completely overblown. Warm-up should be 5-10 minutes, max.
  • That things like physical movement can't be reduced to a simple 'this is the sole mechanism' model. The body is much more complicated in its dynamics than the average medical textbook makes out, and this is a fact that is well known to anybody with a serious interest in martial arts, dance, or even musical performance (if you took the movements of a typical concert pianist and did the maths to show how the muscle-contraction model explains it, you'd come up against apparent physical impossibilities: a

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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