Despite the presence of several different calculations of leg stiffness during hopping, little is known about how the methodologies produce differences in the leg stiffness. The purpose of this study was to directly compare Kleg during hopping as calculated from three previously published computation methods. Ten male subjects hopped in place on two legs, at four frequencies (2.2, 2.6, 3.0, and 3.4 Hz). In this article, leg stiffness was calculated from the natural frequency of oscillation (method A), the ratio of maximal ground reaction force (GRF) to peak center of mass displacement at the middle of the stance phase (method B), and an approximation based on sine-wave GRF modeling (method C). We found that leg stiffness in all methods increased with an increase in hopping frequency, but Kleg values using methods A and B were significantly higher than when using method C at all hopping frequencies. Therefore, care should be taken when comparing leg stiffness obtained by method C with those calculated by other methods.
Hiroaki Hobara is with the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Tokyo; the Department of Rehabilitation for the Movement Functions, Research Institute, National Rehabilitation Center for Persons with Disabilities, Saitama, Japan; and the Department of Kinesiology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD. Koh Inoue is with the Faculty of Engineering, Kagawa University, Takamatsu, Kagawa, Japan. Yoshiyuki Kobayashi is with the Digital Human Research Center, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Tokyo, Japan. Toru Ogata (Corresponding Author) is with the Department of Rehabilitation for the Movement Functions, Research Institute, National Rehabilitation Center for Persons with Disabilities, Saitama, Japan.