Analysing the contributions of lower limb muscles to eccentric cycling using musculoskeletal modeling and simulation

Publication Name

Proceedings of the Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, EMBS


Eccentric (ECC) cycling, compared to traditional concentric cycling, has been shown to improve muscle strength and neuromuscular control at a lower metabolic cost. Despite the popularity of this exercise in the sports and rehabilitation contexts, there is a gap in our knowledge of which muscles are behaving eccentrically during ECC cycling. To this end, we used a musculoskeletal model and computer simulations to calculate joint kinematics and muscle lengths during ECC cycling. Movements were recorded using 3D motion capture technology while cycling eccentrically on a custom-built semi-recumbent ergometer. The software Opensim was used to calculate joint kinematics and muscle lengths from recorded movements. We found that among the primary knee extensors, it was predominantly the Vastii muscles that acted eccentrically in the ECC cycling phase, with other lower limb muscles showing mixed eccentric/concentric activation. Additionally, the muscle force-length and force-velocity factors in the ECC phase suggest that changes to the participant's pose and pedaling speed may elicit larger active muscle forces. Our work provides an interesting application of musculoskeletal modeling to ECC cycling, and an alternative way to help understand in-vivo muscle mechanics during this activity.

Open Access Status

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