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Muscles
The Sliding Filament Hypothesis suggests muscular contraction occurs in the
sarcomeres of the muscle fibres. Explain how actin and myosin filaments in
the sarcomere bind together causing muscular contraction. (4 marks)
A. Filaments unable to bind due to tropomyosin
B. Receipt of nerve impulse/action potential/electrical
impulse/wave of depolarisation
C. Sarcoplasmic reticulum (releases)
D. Calcium (ions released)
E. (Calcium) Attach to troponin (on actin filaments)
F. Causes change of shape of troponin/moves tropomyosin
G. Exposes myosin binding site (on actin filament)/ ATP
H. Cross bridge formation
I. Powerstroke occurs/Ratchet Mechanism/Reduce H zone/z
lines closer together
How can a performer vary the strength of muscular contractions
to ensure that a skill is completed correctly? (4 marks)
A. (Greater the force needed) larger motor units recruited
B. More units recruited
C. Need fast twitch fibres rather than slow twitch fibres
D. Multiple unit summation/spatial summation
E. All or none law/All or nothing law/or explanation
F. Wave summation/frequency of impulse/innervations
G. Motor unit unable to relax/increase the force
H. Tetanus/titanic for powerful contraction
I. Muscle spindles detect changes in muscle length/speed of contraction
J. Send information to brain/CNS
K. Compares information to long term memory to ensure correct force
applied/past experiences
L. Spatial summation – rotating the frequency of the impulse to motor
units to delay fatigue
During the race a swimmer has to dive off the starting blocks as
quickly as possible. Identify the ‘muscle fibre type’ used to
complete this action and justify your answer. (3 marks)
A. Fast twitch fibres/type 2
B. Type 2b/fast twitch glycolytic/FTG
C. Fast speed of contraction
D. High force of contraction/powerful
contraction/ strong contraction
Identify the position of myosin and actin in the above
diagram of a sarcomere. (2)
A-Band = Myosin
I-Band = Actin
What are the functions of troponin and tropomyosin
during muscle contraction? (5)
• Troponin and tropomyosin are connected to
actin.
• During muscle contraction troponin binds with
calcium ions.
• This causes troponin to change shape.
• This moves the tropomyosin molecules and
allows myosin to bind to actin in order for muscle
contraction to begin.
• When calcium ions are no longer present
troponin causes muscle to relax by preventing
myosin from binding to actin, so myosin and actin
return to their original relaxed positions.
Explain how the movement of Calcium ions controls the
contraction of skeletal muscle. (4)
• Ca ions are stored in the sarcoplasmic reticulum (the
liquid that surrounds each myofibril).
• Electrical impulses sent into the myofibril via the
transverse tubules cause the release of Ca ions.
• Ca ions bind to troponin on the actin filaments, causing
tropomyosin to move and exposing the myosin binding
sites on actin.
• This allows myosin to bind to actin and therefore muscle
contraction to take place.
• When the electrical impulse stops Ca ions are sent back
to the sarcoplasmic reticulum, blocking the myosin
binding sites and therefore stopping muscle contraction.
What is the function of myosin ATPase during muscle
contraction? (3)
• Myosin ATPase is activated in the myosin head
when it binds to actin.
• Myosin ATPase causes ATP to breakdown and
energy to be released.
• This energy causes the myosin head to change
shape and pull the actin filament along
(resulting in muscle contraction).
• Without myosin ATPase present to breakdown
ATP muscle contractions could not occur.
During the race a swimmer has to dive off the starting blocks as
quickly as possible. Identify the ‘muscle fibre type’ used to
complete this action and justify your answer. (3 marks)
A. Fast twitch fibres/type 2
B. Type 2b/fast twitch glycolytic/FTG
C. Fast speed of contraction
D. High force of contraction/powerful
contraction / strong contraction
What are the main characteristics of the main type of motor unit
used during sprinting? (4 marks)
•
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Fast twitch fibres / type 2 fibres;
Large number of muscle fibres per motor neurone;
Fast myosin ATPase;
High sarcoplasmic reticulum development;
Low aerobic capacity;
Very high anaerobic capacity;
Fast contractile speed;
Low fatigue resistance;
High motor unit strength.
What do you understand by the term ‘motor units’? (3 marks)
• Motor unit is a motor neurone and its muscle
fibres;
• All muscle fibres within one motor unit are the
same type (e.g. slow twitch);
• Motor units follow the ‘All or nothing law’ – all
muscle fibres either contract or don’t contract
(there is no partial contraction).
• Motor units vary in size, large motor units are
used for gross movements and small motor units
are used for fine control.
How are motor units involved in spatial summation? (4 marks)
• A motor unit is a motor neurone and its muscle
fibres;
• Motor units follow the ‘All or nothing law’ – all
muscle fibres within the motor unit either
contract or don’t contract.
• When a more powerful muscle contraction is
required more motor units are recruited – this is
spatial summation.
• Less motor units are activated for movements
requiring fine control.
The table below shows the percentage of slow twitch fibres in elite
sprinters. Discuss whether the sampling of muscle is a good indicator
of sprinting performance. (3 marks)
Male Sprinters
Range of percentage of
slow twitch fibres
Average percentage of
slow twitch fibres
20-55
35
• Table shows that a high percentage of fast twitch fibres is
common in male sprinters.
• Large range of fast twitch muscle fibre percentages in
sprinters shows that other factors must also be important.
• Factors such as physique, motivation, commitment etc are
also important.
• However a high percentage of fast twitch fibres gives a
natural advantage towards becoming a sprinter.

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