Muscle force per cross-sectional area is inversely related with pennation angle in strength trained athletes

Shigeki Ikegawa*, Kazuo Funato, Naoya Tsunoda, Hiroaki Kanehisa, Tetsuo Fukunaga, Yasuo Kawakami

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


The present study aimed to examine the effect of pennation angle on the force per cross-sectional area for elbow extensor muscles in strength-trained athletes. A total of 52 male bodybuilders (n = 32) and Olympic weightlifters (n = 20) did maximal isometric elbow extension on an isokinetic dynamometer. Muscle crosssectional area (CSA) and muscle-fiber pennation angle (PA) of the triceps brachii muscles were measured by ultrasonography. Bodybuilders had significantly greater isometric elbow extension force (F), CSA and PA than weightlifters. The ratio of force to CSA (F/CSA) of bodybuilders was significantly lower than that of weightlifters. A significant positive correlation was observed between CSA and PA in both groups (r = 0.832, P < 0.001, and r = 0.682, P < 0.001, for bodybuilders and weightlifters, respectively). The F/CSA was negatively correlated to PA both for bodybuilders (r = -0.408, P, 0.05) and weightlifters (r = -0.465, P < 0.05). Thus present study indicates that the larger pennation angle is associated with the lower force relative to muscle CSA in strength-trained athletes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-131
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of strength and conditioning research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jan


  • Muscle force and cross-sectional area
  • Pennation angle
  • Triceps brachii

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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