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A Principle of Neuromechanical Matching for Motor Unit Recruitment in Human Movement

Hudson, Anna L.; Gandevia, Simon C.; Butler, Jane E.

Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews: July 2019 - Volume 47 - Issue 3 - p 157–168
doi: 10.1249/JES.0000000000000191

What determines which motor units are active in a motor task? In the respiratory muscles, motor units are recruited according to their mechanical advantages. We describe a principle of motor unit recruitment by neuromechanical matching due to mechanisms in the spinal cord that sculpt descending drive to motoneurons. This principle may be applicable to movements in nonrespiratory muscles.

A novel principle of motor unit recruitment by neuromechanical matching for human movement control.

Neuroscience Research Australia and University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Address for correspondence: Anna Hudson, Neuroscience Research Australia, Margarete Ainsworth Building, Barker St., Randwick, Sydney, New South Wales 2031, Australia (E-mail:

Accepted for publication: March 28, 2019.

Editor: Janet L. Taylor, M.D.

Online date: April 15, 2019

© 2019 American College of Sports Medicine