Theoretical considerations on cocontraction of sets of agonistic and antagonistic muscles

R. Ait-Haddou, W. Herzog*, P. Binding

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


It is well known that static, non-linear minimization of the sum of the stress in muscles to a certain power cannot predict cocontraction of pairs of one-joint antagonistic muscles. In this report, we prove that for a single joint either all agonistic muscles cocontract or all are silent. For two-joint muscles, we show that lengthening and shortening of muscles corresponds closely to zero force and non-zero force states, respectively. This gives a new physiological interpretation of situations in which cocontraction of pairs of two-joint antagonistic muscles is predicted by these static non-linear optimization approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1105-1111
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Force sharing
  • Karush-Kuhn-Tucker conditions
  • Multi-joint muscles
  • Muscle redundancy
  • Optimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Rehabilitation
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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