Skeletal muscle is composed of bundles of individual muscle fibers and has unique properties which allow it to respond to stimuli by contracting. Individual muscle fibers respond to a stimulus (e.g., nerve impulse) with an all or none response, meaning the muscle fiber contracts to its maximum potential or not at all. Once a muscle has contracted, relaxation must occur before it can contract again. There are three basic types of muscle fibers: slow fibers, fast fibers, and intermediate fibers. Fast fibers contract quickly but for a relatively short duration. Slow fibers respond less rapidly, but are capable of a more sustained contraction. The strength of contraction of a whole muscle is dependent on the number of muscle fibers involved.
In this experiment, you will
Obtain graphical representation of the force exerted by your hand while gripping.
Observe the change in hand strength during a continuous grip over time.
Observe the change in hand strength during rapid, repetitive gripping.
Sensors and Equipment
This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.