Association of muscle hardness with muscle tension dynamics: A physiological property

Mitsuyoshi Murayama, Kotaro Watanabe, Ryoko Kato, Takanori Uchiyama, Tsugutake Yoneda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


This study aimed to investigate the relationship between muscle hardness and muscle tension in terms of length-tension relationship. A frog gastrocnemius muscle sample was horizontally mounted on the base plate inside a chamber and was stretched from 100 to 150% of the pre-length, in 5% increments. After each step of muscle lengthening, electrical field stimulation for induction of tetanus was applied using platinum-plate electrodes positioned on either side of the muscle submerged in Ringer's solution. The measurement of muscle hardness, i.e., applying perpendicular distortion, was performed whilst maintaining the plateau of passive and tetanic tension. The relationship between normalised tension and normalised muscle hardness was evaluated. The length-hardness diagram could be created from the modification with the length-tension diagram. It is noteworthy that muscle hardness was proportional to passive and total tension. Regression analysis revealed a significant correlation between muscle hardness and passive and total tension, with a significant positive slope (passive tension: r = 0.986, P < 0.001; total tension: r = 0.856, P < 0.001). In conclusion, our results suggest that muscle hardness depends on muscle tension in most ranges of muscle length in the length-tension diagram.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-112
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Active tension
  • Length-hardness relationship
  • Length-tension relationship
  • Muscle hardness
  • Muscle strength
  • Passive tension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physiology (medical)


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