For discussing the functions of different structures of all organisms.
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Well, just imagine that you are trying to lift a weight of 160 kg. It will pull the muscle fibres so the shortening of the muscle will be diminished. Moreover, if the force necessary to lift the weight is greater than the maximum force of the muscle, the muscle could even increase its lenght (this could damage the muscle). The load (or the resistance) is the force opposing the contraction (and conversely to the shortening of the fibres). It's normal that at a load=0 (opposing force=0) the shortening is maximum. For more details about muscle contraction and graphs consult a textbook of biophysics.
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