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Hiroshi Arakawa, Akinori Nagano, Dean C. Hay and Hiroaki Kanehisa

The current study aimed to investigate the effect of ankle restriction on the coordination of vertical jumping and discuss the influence of energy transfer through m. gastrocnemius on the multijoint movement. Eight participants performed two types of vertical jumps: a normal squat jump, and a squat jump with restricted ankle joint movement. Mechanical outputs were calculated using an inverse dynamics analysis. Custom-made shoes were used to restrict plantar flexion, resulting in significantly (P < .001) reduced maximum power and work at the ankle joint to below 2% and 3%, while maintaining natural range of motion at the hip and knee. Based on the comparison between the two types of jumps, we determined that the ankle restriction increased (P < .001) the power (827 ± 346 W vs. 1276 ± 326 W) and work (92 ± 34 J vs. 144 ± 36 J) at the knee joint. A large part of the enhanced output at the knee is assumed to be due to ankle restriction, which results in the nullification of energy transport via m. gastrocnemius; that is, reduced contribution of the energy transfer with ankle restriction appeared as augmentation at the knee joint.

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Dean C. Hay, Mark P. Wachowiak and Ryan B. Graham

Advances in time-frequency analysis can provide new insights into the important, yet complex relationship between muscle activation (ie, electromyography [EMG]) and motion during dynamic tasks. We use wavelet coherence to compare a fundamental cyclical movement (lumbar spine flexion and extension) to the surface EMG linear envelope of 2 trunk muscles (lumbar erector spinae and internal oblique). Both muscles cohere to the spine kinematics at the main cyclic frequency, but lumbar erector spinae exhibits significantly greater coherence than internal oblique to kinematics at 0.25, 0.5, and 1.0 Hz. Coherence phase plots of the 2 muscles exhibit different characteristics. The lumbar erector spinae precedes trunk extension at 0.25 Hz, whereas internal oblique is in phase with spine kinematics. These differences may be due to their proposed contrasting functions as a primary spine mover (lumbar erector spinae) versus a spine stabilizer (internal oblique). We believe that this method will be useful in evaluating how a variety of factors (eg, pain, dysfunction, pathology, fatigue) affect the relationship between muscles’ motor inputs (ie, activation measured using EMG) and outputs (ie, the resulting joint motion patterns).

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Senshi Fukashiro, Dean C. Hay and Akinori Nagano

This paper reviews the research findings regarding the force and length changes of the muscle-tendon complex during dynamic human movements, especially those using ultrasonography and computer simulation. The use of ultrasonography demonstrated that the tendinous structures of the muscle-tendon complex are compliant enough to influence the biomechanical behavior (length change, shortening velocity, and so on) of fascicles substantially. It was discussed that the fascicles are a force generator rather than a work generator; the tendinous structures function not only as an energy re-distributor but also as a power amplifier, and the interaction between fascicles and tendinous structures is essential for generating higher joint power outputs during the late pushoff phase in human vertical jumping. This phenomenon could be explained based on the force-length/velocity relationships of each element (contractile and series elastic elements) in the muscle-tendon complex during movements. Through computer simulation using a Hill-type muscle-tendon complex model, the benefit of making a countermovement was examined in relation to the compliance of the muscle-tendon complex and the length ratio between the contractile and series elastic elements. Also, the integral roles of the series elastic element were simulated in a cyclic human heel-raise exercise. It was suggested that the storage and reutilization of elastic energy by the tendinous structures play an important role in enhancing work output and movement efficiency in many sorts of human movements.

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Yuki Inaba, Shinsuke Yoshioka, Yoshiaki Iida, Dean C. Hay and Senshi Fukashiro

Lateral quickness is a crucial component of many sports. However, biomechanical factors that contribute to quickness in lateral movements have not been understood well. Thus, the purpose of this study was to quantify 3-dimensional kinetics of hip, knee, and ankle joints in side steps to understand the function of lower extremity muscle groups. Side steps at nine different distances were performed by nine male subjects. Kinematic and ground reaction force data were recorded, and net joint torque and work were calculated by a standard inverse-dynamics method. Extension torques and work done at hip, knee, and ankle joints contributed substantially to the changes in side step distances. On the other hand, hip abduction work was not as sensitive to the changes in the side step distances. The main roles of hip abduction torque and work were to accelerate the center of mass laterally in the earlier phase of the movement and to keep the trunk upright, but not to generate large power for propulsion.