Skeletal Muscle: Learn about the muscles we use to walk and run

Time to complete course: 48 min.

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About Skeletal Muscle: Learn about the muscles we use to walk and run Virtual Lab Simulation

Have you ever wondered what the difference between walking and running is? In this simulation you will learn the key differences between muscles used during walking and those used for sprinting. Spotting these differences will require the use of a variety of lab techniques.

Stain two muscles using histochemistry

With a cryostat you will cut two muscles in thin slices, and use different protocols to stain the muscle cells and identify myosin ATPase, succinate dehydrogenase (SDH), and aGDPH. You will dye the cells of the extensor digitorum longus (EDL), as well as those of the soleus to inspect the fibre composition under a light microscope. You will then complete a full protocol. First, you will dissect a rat to extract two types of skeletal muscle. Then, you will use the microtome in a cryostat to prepare microscope slides with the muscles to compare them and inspect the differently stained muscle fibres.

Use the force… transducer!

In the second half of the simulation you will investigate the properties of the two types of skeletal muscle to see how they differ and where they are similar. Use force transducers to investigate how the tension of the two muscles differs with length, and what kind of force they produce at different lengths and with different stimuli. Dive in to skeletal muscle exercises such as twitch kinetics, tetanus kinetics, force frequency and fatigue!

Compare the muscles

Use histochemistry and force transduction to get data to compare two types of skeletal muscles from dissected virtual rats. Will you be able to compare the two skeletal muscles and explain why you can be super fit for long walks but get tired from a short sprint?

Get Started Now

Investigate the properties of two types of skeletal muscle and analyze their fiber composition. Use histochemistry and force transduction to compare muscles and learn why you can stay energized on long walks but get tired from a short sprint.

Techniques in Lab

  • Histochemistry
    • Staining/Microscopy
    • Slide preparation
  • Force transduction
    • Length tension
    • Twitch kinetics
    • Tetanus kinetics
    • Force frequency
    • Fatigue

Learning Objectives

At the end of this simulation, you will be able to…

  • Explain the length-tension relationship in skeletal muscle
  • Understand how twitch and tetanus, the force-frequency relationship, and the response
    to fatigue differ for different types of muscle
  • Measure the physiological properties of isolated EDL and soleus muscles
  • Learn about enzyme histochemistry techniques and understand the steps involved
  • Quantify the proportion of different fiber types found in both muscle types

Simulation Features

Length – 48 minutes
Languages – English

Examples of Related Standards


Life Sciences related 1st and 2nd year


Potentially HS-LS1-2, however likely too high level


11.2 Movement


No direct alignment

Screenshots of Skeletal Muscle: Learn about the muscles we use to walk and run Virtual Lab Simulation


Dr. Jon Harrison

School of Life Sciences
Arizona State University

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