Length-tension relationship refers to the overlapping of microfilaments in a sarcomere. Heads of the myosin proteins need to grab the binding sites of actin proteins. There are two halves of one sarcomere. During muscle contraction, each side grabs a different actin molecule, then they pull each actin closer together. This happens with a BUNCH of little myosin heads and actin binding sites at the same time.
Now if the actin molecules are too far apart, there are fewer myosin heads to latch onto fewer actin binding sites. The amount of active tension the muscle can actively produce on its own is then lower. There are simply fewer molecules working. So longer lengths mean less active tension.
A similar thing happens if the muscle gets too short; you just run out of room to contract.
This portion of the length-tension relationship defines the active properties of muscles. Muscles, though, can also produce passive tension.
As length increases, passive tension also increases. This is due to elastic properties of muscle, such as the tendons and surrounding connective tissue. These tissues stretch, just like a rubber band, and then enough force is produced to overcome the active tension deficit that occurs when a muscle lengthens.
Ty Terrell is one of the most “in the trenches” trainers that I know. He’s had experience coaching in the weight room, coaching basketball, and running speed & agility courses. He got his start in the fitness industry working under the great Lee Taft.
This guy knows a thing or two about athleticism, so when he talks, I listen.
I was able to get Ty to sit down for a question and answer session with us. I’ve repackaged this half hour conversation to make it flow better for you listeners out there.
Topics addressed include…
Speed and agility periodization for a basketball player. (0:09)
The basic speed and agility movements everyone needs to be able to perform well. (02:47)
How to determine the appropriate height for an athletic stance. HINT: you don’t just “get low”. (05:20)
Why sport-specific speed and agility training in the gym is a myth. (08:33)
Why sport-specific speed and agility training in the gym is NOT a myth. (09:49)
When to fix an athlete’s natural movement pattern. (13:26)
Speed and agility work for baseball players. (17:14)
A better term for “speed and agility”. (21:06)
Using the weight room to develop speed and agility. (21:48)
How to train speed and agility in professional athletes. (28:51)
Get ready to laugh and learn something.
Subscribers also have access to an audio-only version of the interview for convenient listening (like while you’re doing cardiac output).