Sarcomeres slide

Muscles contract, but how exactly?

Try lifting weights and you immediately notice that your biceps contract. However, the contraction doesn't mean muscles suddenly shrink in situ but rather, the muscle filaments slide over each other. This was hypothesised and proven by scientists and they name this mechanism the sliding filament theory. How is that possible? This site should answer some of your questions. So read on to find out more.


An overview

From this website, you will be walked through relevant concepts of the sliding filament theory, like:


And if you still don't understand, peruse the FAQs and glossary, or send us an e-mail with your questions.




  • Saladin, KS 2003, Anatomy and physiology: the unity of form and function, 3rd edn, The McGraw-Hill Companies, USA.
  • Martini, FH 2001, Fundamentals of anatomy and physiology, 5th edn, Prentice Hall, USA.
  • Boron, WF, Boulpeap, EL 2009, Medical physiology, 2nd edn, Saunders Elsevier, Philadelphia, USA.
  • Cambray-Deakin, M, Laude, EA, Robson, L 2011, BMS 201: control of the internal environment module booklet, University of Sheffield, UK.
  • Tortora, GJ, Derrickson, B 2007, Principles of anatomy and physiology, 11th edn, John Wiley and Sons Inc., USA.



  • Dr. Borycki, AG
  • Dr. Cambray-Deakin, M





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