The optimal stimulation pattern for skeletal muscle is dependent on muscle length

Petra Mela, Peter H. Veltink, Peter A. Huijing, Stanley Salmons, Jonathan C. Jarvis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Stimulation patterns can be optimized by maximizing the force-time integral (FTI) per stimulation pulse of the elicited muscle contraction. Such patterns, providing the desired force output with the minimum number of pulses, may reduce muscle fatigue, which has been shown to correlate to the number of pulses delivered. Applications of electrical stimulation to use muscle as a controllable biological actuator may, therefore, be improved. Although muscle operates over a range of lengths, optimized patterns have been determined only at optimal muscle length. In this study, the patterns with up to four pulses that produced the highest isometric FTI were determined at 10 muscle lengths for 11 rabbit tibialis anterior muscles. The interpulse intervals (IPIs) used ranged from 4 to 54 ms. At high muscle length, the optimal stimulation pattern consisted of an initial short IPI (doublet) followed by longer IPIs, in agreement with previous studies. However, at low length, the third pulse still elicited more than linear summation (triplet); furthermore, the relative enhancement of the FTI per pulse was considerably larger at low length than at high length, suggesting that optimal stimulation patterns are length dependent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-93
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Electrical stimulation
  • Muscle length
  • n-lets stimulation pattern


Dive into the research topics of 'The optimal stimulation pattern for skeletal muscle is dependent on muscle length'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this