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  • Author: Sean P. Flanagan x
  • Athletic Training, Therapy, and Rehabilitation x
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Sean P. Flanagan and George J. Salem

The purpose of this investigation was to determine if increases in external resistance during a squat movement would be controlled by proportionally scaling the net joint moment work or average net joint moment (NJM) at the hip, knee, and ankle. Eighteen experienced subjects performed 3 sets of 3 repetitions each of a squat movement using resistances of 25, 50, 75, and 100% of their 3-repetition maximum, while instrumented for biomechanical analyses. Standard inverse dynamics techniques and numerical integration were used to calculate the NJM work and average NJM of each joint. A combination of single-subject and group mean statistical analyses indicated that the neither the NJM work nor average NJM increased proportionately in response to increases in external loading. Results suggest a complex control strategy in which the hip was the dominant contributor, increased linearly with the external load, and had low variability. The knee and ankle contributions were neither as great nor as linear, and were highly variable, suggesting that they were influenced by more than just the external load. The disproportionate response of each joint to varying external resistances suggests that controlling the force output of multijoint chains requires further study and modifications to existing motor control theories.

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Sean P. Flanagan and George J. Salem

In the analysis of human movement, researchers often sum individual joint kinetics to obtain a single measure of lower extremity function. The extent to which these summed measures relate to the mechanical objectives of the task has not been formally validated. The criterion validity of these measures was established with comparisons to the mechanical objective of two multiple-joint tasks. For the Work task 18 participants performed a loaded barbell squat using 4 resistances while instrumented for biomechanical analysis. For the Power they performed 2 predetermined amounts of work at both self-selected and fast speeds. Using inverse dynamics techniques, the peak net joint moment (PM) was calculated bilaterally in the sagittal plane at the ankle, knee, and hip and was summed into a single measure. This measure was correlated with the task objectives using simple linear regression. Similar procedures were used for the average net joint moment (AM), peak (PP), and average (AP) net joint moment power, and the net joint moment impulse (IM) and work (IP). For the Work task all 6 measures were significantly correlated with the task objective, but only AM, PM, and IP had correlation coefficients above 0.90. For the Power task, IM was not significantly correlated with the task objective, and only AP had a correlation coefficient above 0.90. These findings indicate that the validity of summing individual kinetic measures depends on both the measure chosen and the mechanical objective of the task.

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Sean P. Flanagan, Kara M. Kessans and George J. Salem

Context:

Information regarding how the mechanical demand differs with variants of the step exercise may be used by clinicians to more appropriately prescribe lower-extremity exercise.

Objective:

To quantify the joint torque contributions of the lower extremity during three different step exercises: forward step-up (FS), lateral step-up (LS), and step-down (SD).

Design:

An experiment with a repeated measures design.

Setting:

Biomechanics laboratory.

Participants:

18 healthy subjects (9 men, 9 women, age 25.67 ± 4.23 years, height 1.73 ± 0.10 meters, mass 72.73 ± 10.67 kilograms).

Intervention:

Participants performed three sets of three repetitions of each exercise while instrumented for biomechanical analysis.

Main Outcome Measure:

Mechanical effort of the hip, knee, and ankle of both limbs during each exercise.

Results:

The greatest contribution from the hip was required during the FS, while the contribution from the knee was required during the SD. The greatest contribution from the ankle was required during the LS and SD.

Conclusion:

Choice of step exercise results in different distributions of mechanical demand across the lower extremities.

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Eric Wiatt and Sean P. Flanagan

Edited by Tricia Hubbard

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George J. Salem, Sean P. Flanagan, Man-Ying Wang, Joo-Eun Song, Stanley P. Azen and Gail A. Greendale

Stepping activities when wearing a weighted vest may enhance physical function in older persons. Using 3 weighted-vest resistance dosages, this study characterized the lower-extremity joint biomechanics associated with stepping activities in elders. Twenty healthy community-dwelling older adults, ages 74.5 ± 4.5 yrs, performed 3 trials of forward step-up and lateral step-up exercises while wearing a weighted vest which added 0% body weight (BW), 5% BW, or 10% BW. They performed these activities on a force platform while instrumented for biomechanical analysis. Repeated-measures ANOVA was used to evaluate the differences in ankle, knee, and hip maximum joint angles, peak net joint moments, joint powers, and impulses among both steping activities and the 3 loading conditions. Findings indicated that the 5% BW vest increased the kinetic output associated with the exercise activities at all three lower-extremity joints. These increases ranged from 5.9% for peak hip power to 12.5% for knee extensor impulse. The application of an additional 5% BW resistance did not affect peak joint moments or powers, but it did increase the joint impulses by 4–11%. Comparisons between exercise activities, across the 3 loading conditions, indicated that forward stepping preferentially targeted the hip extensors while lateral stepping targeted the plantar flexors; both activities equally targeted the knee extensors. Weighted-vest loads of 5% and 10% BW substantially increased the mechanical demand on the knee extensors, hip extensors (forward stepping), and ankle plantar flexors (lateral stepping).