We derive a fundamental relationship between the mean and the variability of isometric force. The relationship arises from an optimal collection of active motor units such that the force variability assumes a minimum (optimal isometric force). The relationship is shown to be independent of the explicit motor unit properties and of the dynamical features of isometric force production. A constant coefficient of variation in the asymptotic regime and a nonequilibrium fluctuation-dissipation theorem for optimal isometric force are predicted. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.