Effect of Training-Induced Changes in Achilles Tendon Stiffness on Muscle-Tendon Behavior During Landing

Amelie Werkhausen, Kirsten Albracht, Neil J Cronin, Gøran Paulsen, Jens Bojsen-Møller, Olivier R Seynnes

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

During rapid deceleration of the body, tendons buffer part of the elongation of the muscle-tendon unit (MTU), enabling safe energy dissipation via eccentric muscle contraction. Yet, the influence of changes in tendon stiffness within the physiological range upon these lengthening contractions is unknown. This study aimed to examine the effect of training-induced stiffening of the Achilles tendon on triceps surae muscle-tendon behavior during a landing task. Twenty-one male subjects were assigned to either a 10-week resistance-training program consisting of single-leg isometric plantarflexion (n = 11) or to a non-training control group (n = 10). Before and after the training period, plantarflexion force, peak Achilles tendon strain and stiffness were measured during isometric contractions, using a combination of dynamometry, ultrasound and kinematics data. Additionally, testing included a step-landing task, during which joint mechanics and lengths of gastrocnemius and soleus fascicles, Achilles tendon, and MTU were determined using synchronized ultrasound, kinematics and kinetics data collection. After training, plantarflexion strength and Achilles tendon stiffness increased (15 and 18%, respectively), and tendon strain during landing remained similar. Likewise, lengthening and negative work produced by the gastrocnemius MTU did not change detectably. However, in the training group, gastrocnemius fascicle length was offset (8%) to a longer length at touch down and, surprisingly, fascicle lengthening and velocity were reduced by 27 and 21%, respectively. These changes were not observed for soleus fascicles when accounting for variation in task execution between tests. These results indicate that a training-induced increase in tendon stiffness does not noticeably affect the buffering action of the tendon when the MTU is rapidly stretched. Reductions in gastrocnemius fascicle lengthening and lengthening velocity during landing occurred independently from tendon strain. Future studies are required to provide insight into the mechanisms underpinning these observations and their influence on energy dissipation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number794
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Volume9
Issue numberJUN
Number of pages11
ISSN1664-042X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26. Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes

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Achilles Tendon
Muscles
Isometric Contraction
Deceleration
Resistance Training
Mechanics
Leg
Skeletal Muscle
Joints

Keywords

  • Achilles tendon
  • Energy absorption
  • Energy dissipation
  • Mechanical buffer
  • Stiffness
  • Tendon properties

Cite this

Werkhausen, Amelie ; Albracht, Kirsten ; Cronin, Neil J ; Paulsen, Gøran ; Bojsen-Møller, Jens ; Seynnes, Olivier R. / Effect of Training-Induced Changes in Achilles Tendon Stiffness on Muscle-Tendon Behavior During Landing. In: Frontiers in Physiology. 2018 ; Vol. 9, No. JUN.
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abstract = "During rapid deceleration of the body, tendons buffer part of the elongation of the muscle-tendon unit (MTU), enabling safe energy dissipation via eccentric muscle contraction. Yet, the influence of changes in tendon stiffness within the physiological range upon these lengthening contractions is unknown. This study aimed to examine the effect of training-induced stiffening of the Achilles tendon on triceps surae muscle-tendon behavior during a landing task. Twenty-one male subjects were assigned to either a 10-week resistance-training program consisting of single-leg isometric plantarflexion (n = 11) or to a non-training control group (n = 10). Before and after the training period, plantarflexion force, peak Achilles tendon strain and stiffness were measured during isometric contractions, using a combination of dynamometry, ultrasound and kinematics data. Additionally, testing included a step-landing task, during which joint mechanics and lengths of gastrocnemius and soleus fascicles, Achilles tendon, and MTU were determined using synchronized ultrasound, kinematics and kinetics data collection. After training, plantarflexion strength and Achilles tendon stiffness increased (15 and 18{\%}, respectively), and tendon strain during landing remained similar. Likewise, lengthening and negative work produced by the gastrocnemius MTU did not change detectably. However, in the training group, gastrocnemius fascicle length was offset (8{\%}) to a longer length at touch down and, surprisingly, fascicle lengthening and velocity were reduced by 27 and 21{\%}, respectively. These changes were not observed for soleus fascicles when accounting for variation in task execution between tests. These results indicate that a training-induced increase in tendon stiffness does not noticeably affect the buffering action of the tendon when the MTU is rapidly stretched. Reductions in gastrocnemius fascicle lengthening and lengthening velocity during landing occurred independently from tendon strain. Future studies are required to provide insight into the mechanisms underpinning these observations and their influence on energy dissipation.",
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Effect of Training-Induced Changes in Achilles Tendon Stiffness on Muscle-Tendon Behavior During Landing. / Werkhausen, Amelie; Albracht, Kirsten; Cronin, Neil J; Paulsen, Gøran; Bojsen-Møller, Jens; Seynnes, Olivier R.

In: Frontiers in Physiology, Vol. 9, No. JUN, 794, 26.06.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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T1 - Effect of Training-Induced Changes in Achilles Tendon Stiffness on Muscle-Tendon Behavior During Landing

AU - Werkhausen, Amelie

AU - Albracht, Kirsten

AU - Cronin, Neil J

AU - Paulsen, Gøran

AU - Bojsen-Møller, Jens

AU - Seynnes, Olivier R

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N2 - During rapid deceleration of the body, tendons buffer part of the elongation of the muscle-tendon unit (MTU), enabling safe energy dissipation via eccentric muscle contraction. Yet, the influence of changes in tendon stiffness within the physiological range upon these lengthening contractions is unknown. This study aimed to examine the effect of training-induced stiffening of the Achilles tendon on triceps surae muscle-tendon behavior during a landing task. Twenty-one male subjects were assigned to either a 10-week resistance-training program consisting of single-leg isometric plantarflexion (n = 11) or to a non-training control group (n = 10). Before and after the training period, plantarflexion force, peak Achilles tendon strain and stiffness were measured during isometric contractions, using a combination of dynamometry, ultrasound and kinematics data. Additionally, testing included a step-landing task, during which joint mechanics and lengths of gastrocnemius and soleus fascicles, Achilles tendon, and MTU were determined using synchronized ultrasound, kinematics and kinetics data collection. After training, plantarflexion strength and Achilles tendon stiffness increased (15 and 18%, respectively), and tendon strain during landing remained similar. Likewise, lengthening and negative work produced by the gastrocnemius MTU did not change detectably. However, in the training group, gastrocnemius fascicle length was offset (8%) to a longer length at touch down and, surprisingly, fascicle lengthening and velocity were reduced by 27 and 21%, respectively. These changes were not observed for soleus fascicles when accounting for variation in task execution between tests. These results indicate that a training-induced increase in tendon stiffness does not noticeably affect the buffering action of the tendon when the MTU is rapidly stretched. Reductions in gastrocnemius fascicle lengthening and lengthening velocity during landing occurred independently from tendon strain. Future studies are required to provide insight into the mechanisms underpinning these observations and their influence on energy dissipation.

AB - During rapid deceleration of the body, tendons buffer part of the elongation of the muscle-tendon unit (MTU), enabling safe energy dissipation via eccentric muscle contraction. Yet, the influence of changes in tendon stiffness within the physiological range upon these lengthening contractions is unknown. This study aimed to examine the effect of training-induced stiffening of the Achilles tendon on triceps surae muscle-tendon behavior during a landing task. Twenty-one male subjects were assigned to either a 10-week resistance-training program consisting of single-leg isometric plantarflexion (n = 11) or to a non-training control group (n = 10). Before and after the training period, plantarflexion force, peak Achilles tendon strain and stiffness were measured during isometric contractions, using a combination of dynamometry, ultrasound and kinematics data. Additionally, testing included a step-landing task, during which joint mechanics and lengths of gastrocnemius and soleus fascicles, Achilles tendon, and MTU were determined using synchronized ultrasound, kinematics and kinetics data collection. After training, plantarflexion strength and Achilles tendon stiffness increased (15 and 18%, respectively), and tendon strain during landing remained similar. Likewise, lengthening and negative work produced by the gastrocnemius MTU did not change detectably. However, in the training group, gastrocnemius fascicle length was offset (8%) to a longer length at touch down and, surprisingly, fascicle lengthening and velocity were reduced by 27 and 21%, respectively. These changes were not observed for soleus fascicles when accounting for variation in task execution between tests. These results indicate that a training-induced increase in tendon stiffness does not noticeably affect the buffering action of the tendon when the MTU is rapidly stretched. Reductions in gastrocnemius fascicle lengthening and lengthening velocity during landing occurred independently from tendon strain. Future studies are required to provide insight into the mechanisms underpinning these observations and their influence on energy dissipation.

KW - Achilles tendon

KW - Energy absorption

KW - Energy dissipation

KW - Mechanical buffer

KW - Stiffness

KW - Tendon properties

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DO - 10.3389/fphys.2018.00794

M3 - Journal article

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VL - 9

JO - Frontiers in Physiology

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