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Force–length relation of skeletal muscles: from sarcomeres to myofibril

Hou, M.


M. Hou


Sarcomeres are building blocks of skeletal muscles. Given force–length relations of sarcomeres serially connected in a myofibril, the myofibril force–length relation can be uniquely determined. Necessary and sufficient conditions are derived for capability of fully lengthening or completely shortening a myofibril under isometric, eccentric or concentric contraction, and for the myofibril force–length relation to be a continuous single-valued function. Intriguing phenomena such as sarcomere force–length hysteresis and myofibril regularity are investigated and their important roles in determining myofibril force–length relations are explored. The theoretical analysis leads to experimentally verifiable predictions on myofibril force–length relations. For illustration, simulated force–length relations of a myofibril portion consisting of a sarcomere pair are presented.


Hou, M. (2018). Force–length relation of skeletal muscles: from sarcomeres to myofibril. Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology, 17(6), 1797-1810.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 16, 2018
Online Publication Date Jul 26, 2018
Publication Date 2018-12
Deposit Date May 7, 2019
Publicly Available Date May 8, 2019
Journal Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology
Print ISSN 1617-7940
Electronic ISSN 1617-7940
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 17
Issue 6
Pages 1797-1810
Keywords Force–length relation; Sarcomere inhomogeneity; Myofibril regularity; Hysteretic property
Public URL
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Article (887 Kb)

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© The Author(s) 2018. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

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