Muscle Physiology Lesson Plan

Categories:  John Drazan, Lessons and Activities, Science of Athletic Performance, Science of Athletic Performance Lessons and Activities

Goals: The purpose of this lesson is to increase students’ understanding of muscular function by investigating the structure, metabolism and function of muscle cells. The class will be opened with a discussion regarding how weight training affects health and performance. The discussion will end with a series of “hook questions” that the class should be able to answer by the end of the period. Ideally, by the end of the class the students will have an appreciation for why the body needs so many seemingly redundant muscles.

1)      Why is it necessary to have so many muscles crossing the same joint?

Important Vocab:

1)      Muscular Anatomy

  1. Agonist
  2. Antagonist

2)      Metabolism

  1. Aerobic
  2. Anaerobic

3)      Molecular Anatomy

  1. Actin
  2. Myosin

4)      Muscle Fiber Type

  1. Fast twitch
  2. Slow twitch

Lesson Overview:

1)      Begin with discussion about how many muscles there were in the diagram that was being labeled on Monday.

  1. Why so many across each joint?

2)      Expand to the different actions that occur at each joint.

  1. What are the differences between the forces around the ankle in the case of standing vs jumping?

3)      Lab exercise 1:

  1. Break into groups of 3 or 4.
  2. Using phone, time how long a group member can hold an arm out straight before they begin to get fatigued
  3. Record time
  4. Hold textbook in hand and repeat experiment.
  5. Compare the “hold time” between weighted and un-weighted?
  6. Why is there a difference in the two times? (class discussion)

i.      What are other examples of things that are more difficult with weight?

ii.      What would happen if you did this every day?

  1. 1.       Introduction of the concept of muscle adaptation

iii.      What is happening to the structure of the muscle?

4)      Discuss how size principle and the motor recruitment patterns lead to this phenomena

  1. Size principle

i.      Recruit smaller, fatigue resistant fibers first

ii.      Recruit large, fatigable fibers if needed

  1. Our experiment

i.      Our body has adapted to holding our arms out in front of us

  1. Only needs to use “slow twitch motor units”

ii.      Our body is not adapted to holding the textbook

  1. Forced to recruit “fast twitch motor units”
  2. Fatigue and failure

iii.      What happens after repeated training?

  1. Body adapts

5)      How can we validate this?

  1. Frequency analysis using labpro EMG

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