We have used transient phosphorescence anisotropy (TPA) to detect changes in actin structural dynamics associated with oxidative inhibition of muscle contraction. Contractility of skinned rabbit psoas muscle fibers was inhibited by treatment with 50 mM H2O2, which induced oxidative modifications in the myosin head and in actin, as previously reported. Using proteins purified from oxidized and unoxidized muscle, we used TPA to measure the effects of weakly (+ATP) and strongly (no ATP) bound myosin heads (S1) on the microsecond dynamics of actin labeled at Cys374 with erythrosine iodoacetamide. Oxidative modification of S1 had no effect on actin dynamics in the absence of ATP (strong binding complex), but restricted the dynamics in the presence of ATP (weakly bound complex). In contrast, oxidative modification of actin did not have a significant effect on the weak-to-strong transitions. Thus, we concluded that (1) the effects of oxidation on the dynamics of actin in the actomyosin complex are predominantly determined by oxidation-induced changes in S1, and (2) changes in weak-to-strong structural transitions in actin and myosin are coupled to each other and are associated with oxidative inhibition of muscle contractility.