Kinematic Variability in Running: A Caution Regarding Use of the Spanning Set Measure

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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  • 1 University of Ulster
  • | 2 University of Chichester
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The spanning set technique quantifies intertrial variability as the span between polynomial curves representing upper and lower standard deviation curves of a repeated movement. This study aimed to assess the validity of the spanning set technique in quantifying variability and specifically to determine its sensitivity to variability presented at different phases of a movement cycle. Knee angle data were recorded from a male participant completing 12 overground running trials. Variability was added to each running trial at five different phases of the running stride. Ten variability magnitudes were also used to assess the effect of variability magnitude on the spanning set measure. Variability was quantified in all trials using mean deviation and the spanning set measure. Results of a repeated-measures ANOVA showed significant differences between the spanning set score for trials using different phases of added variability. In contrast, mean deviation values showed no difference related to the phase of added variability. Therefore, the spanning set technique cannot be recommended as a valid measure of intertrial movement variability.

Michael Hanlon (Corresponding Author) is with the Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Institute, University of Ulster, Jordanstown, Northern Ireland. Philip Kearney is with the Faculty of Sport, Education and Social Sciences, University of Chichester, Chichester, U.K., and Joan Condell is with the Computer Sciences Research Institute, University of Ulster, Coleraine, Northern Ireland.

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