Musle Tonus, Range of Motion, and Sensations in Sprinting

Hi everyone,

I’m having trouble finding information in the archives about muscle tonus, and its benefits/detriments in sprinting.

I have some questions:

  1. Is there such thing as a “natural” muscle tonus in individuals? If so, is this the optimal level for racing?

  2. Does increased muscle tonus limit range of motion?

  3. Supposing injury is not possible (a dangerous assumption, I realize) is greater muscle tonus better than less muscle tonus?

  4. Obviously, massage is useful to lower muscle tonus, but what are some specific exercises that can be used on race day to increase tonus? Are last minute efforts to manipulate tonus even advisable?

  5. Does an athlete FEEL noticeably more or less responsive when tonus has changed?

I appreciate feedback greatly.


Sprinterl, Here’s what I can tell you.

  1. According to biological variability- I would say yes, however myogenic tone is a trait that can be highly developed through specific loading parameters

  2. No, if you train flexibility you will be flexible regardless of myogenic tone

  3. Better/worse is not really what you should focus on. Rather proper training and if increased tonus is yielded, which is likely do to the explosive/high force production values that are inherent to sprinters, than so be it.

  4. Someone else can take this one.

  5. No direct experience with this, however I am inclined to say more.


Thanks for the info,

I guess what I’m really curious to know, is how useful is tonus as an indicator of performance levels. What range of performance increases can an athlete expect to gain by optimizing tone?

It seems that range is not limited by higher tone. So would then a higher tone yield better performances? Or are there other factors I haven’t considered?

Finally, is a higher tone advisable in certain muscles, but not in others?

Again, much appreciated.

  1. Your warm up can increase the tone if it includes quick drills such as a quick feet drll. A few vertical bounds could increase the tonus but make sure you have full energy for the race.
    Dennis Mitchell had a pretty dynamic warm up to say the least. Kung Fu kicks, quick feet sideways prancing, snappy punches were all part of the repertior.

Ofcourse some sprinters just slap their thighs back and front to increase tonus but I’m not sure if that is really as effective.

If you are competing in a tornament then the previous rounds (assuming u get to the final) should be more than enough to have high tone by the second or third race, though u will ofcourse still need a warm up.

The thing is, other than massage I feel that the athlete should be aware enough of their own body to realize wether or not they should increase or decrease the tone.

If you had to try and ensure not increasing the tone then your warmup could be done on the grass. Ofcourse, this does not beat massage.

Thanks goose2

But what does optimal tone feel like, both to the touch, and in the run??