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Architectural adaptations of muscle to training and injury: a narrative review outlining the contributions by fascicle length, pennation angle and muscle thickness
  1. Ryan G Timmins1,
  2. Anthony J Shield2,
  3. Morgan D Williams3,
  4. Christian Lorenzen1,
  5. David A Opar1
  1. 1School of Exercise Science, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences and Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  3. 3School of Health, Sport and Professional Practice, University of South Wales, Pontypridd, Wales, UK
  1. Correspondence to Ryan G Timmins, School of Exercise Science, Australian Catholic University, 115 Victoria Parade, Fitzroy, Melbourne, VIC 3065, Australia; Ryan.Timmins{at}


Background The architectural characteristics of muscle (fascicle length, pennation angle muscle thickness) respond to varying forms of stimuli (eg, training, immobilisation and injury). Architectural changes following injury are thought to occur in response to the restricted range of motion experienced during rehabilitation and the associated neuromuscular inhibition. However, it is unknown if these differences exist prior to injury, and had a role in injury occuring (prospectively), or if they occur in response to the incident itself (retrospectively). Considering that the structure of a muscle will influence how it functions, it is of interest to understand how these architectural variations may alter how a muscle acts with reference to the force-length and force-velocity relationships.

Objectives Our narrative review provides an overview of muscle architectural adaptations to training and injury. Specifically, we (1) describe the methods used to measure muscle architecture; (2) detail the impact that architectural alterations following training interventions, immobilisation and injury have on force production and (3) present a hypothesis on how neuromuscular inhibition could cause maladaptations to muscle architecture following injury.

  • Muscle
  • Injury

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  • Twitter Follow Ryan Timmins at @ryan_timmins, Anthony Shield at @das_shield, Morgan Williams at @drmorgs, Christian Lorenzen at @athleticexcel and David Opar at @davidopar

  • Contributors RGT was primarily responsible for the determining the review design and wrote the manuscript. MDW, AJS, DAO and CL were involved in the review design and assisted in writing the manuscript.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.