Normalization of Ground Reaction Forces

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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  • 1 DATA Squared
  • 2 University of Tennessee
  • 3 University of Delaware
  • 4 University of Massachusetts
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The appropriateness of normalizing data, as one method to reduce the effects of a covariate on a dependent variable, should be evaluated. Using ratio, 0.67-nonlinear, and fitted normalizations, the aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between ground reaction force variables and body mass (BM). Ground reaction forces were recorded for 40 female subjects running at 3.7 ± 0.18 m·s–1 (mass = 58 ± 6 kg). The explained variance for mass to forces (peak-impact-vertical = 70%; propulsive-vertical = 27%; braking = 40%) was reduced to < 0.1% for mass to ratio normalized forces (i.e., forces/BM1) with statistically significantly different power exponents (p < 0.05). The smaller covariate effect of mass on loading rate variables of 2–16% was better removed through fitted normalization (e.g., vertical-instantaneous-loading-rate/BM0.69±0.93; ±95% CI) with nonlinear power exponents ranging from 0.51 to 1.13. Generally, these were similar to 0.67 as predicted through dimensionality theory, but, owing to the large confidence intervals, these power exponents were not statistically significantly different from absolute or ratio normalized data (p > 0.05). Further work is warranted to identify the appropriate method to normalize loading rates either to mass or to another covariate. Ratio normalization of forces to mass, as predicted through Newtonian mechanics, is recommended for comparing subjects of different masses.

DATA Squared (contact via http://www.datasquared.org)

Department of Exercise, Sport & Leisure Studies, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996

Drayer Physical Therapy Institute and Department of Physical Therapy, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716

Department of Kinesiology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003.