This study’s aim was to identify the effect of oscillation of torques in isometric tasks under identical mechanical conditions on the muscle synergies used. It was hypothesized that bi-functional muscles would play a lesser role in torque oscillation, because they would also generate an undesired oscillation. Thus, changes in muscle synergies were expected as a consequence of oscillation in torque generation. The effect of the trajectory of torque generation was investigated in dual-degrees-of-freedom submaximal isometric oscillation torque tasks at the elbow. The torques were flexion-extension and supination-pronation. Oscillation torques were compared with static torque generations at four torque positions during oscillation. Muscle activity was determined with surface electromyography. Compared with the static torque tasks, the oscillation tasks showed an overall increased muscle activity. The oscillation tasks, however, showed similar activity patterns and muscle synergies compared to the static composite tasks. It was found that the motor system is well able to control different orthogonal combinations of slow torque oscillations and constant torques by employing a single oscillating muscle synergy.
Gertjan J.C. Ettema, Emma Taylor, J. David North and Vaughan Kippers
Gertjan J.C. Ettema, Steinar Bråten and Maarten F. Bobbert
A ski jumper tries to maintain an aerodynamic position in the in-run during changing environmental forces. The purpose of this study was to analyze the mechanical demands on a ski jumper taking the in-run in a static position. We simulated the in-run in ski jumping with a 4-segment forward dynamic model (foot, leg, thigh, and upper body). The curved path of the in-run was used as kinematic constraint, and drag, lift, and snow friction were incorporated. Drag and snow friction created a forward rotating moment that had to be counteracted by a plantar flexion moment and caused the line of action of the normal force to pass anteriorly to the center of mass continuously. The normal force increased from 0.88G on the first straight to 1.65G in the curve. The required knee joint moment increased more because of an altered center of pressure. During the transition from the straight to the curve there was a rapid forward shift of the center of pressure under the foot, reflecting a short but high angular acceleration. Because unrealistically high rates of change of moment are required, an athlete cannot do this without changing body configuration which reduces the required rate of moment changes.
Ruud W. de Boer, Gertjan J.C. Ettema, Hans van Gorkum, Gert de Groot and Gerrit Jan van Ingen Schenau
Characteristics of stroke mechanics of elite and trained speed skaters were measured during the skating of curves. Film and video analysis from the 5000-meter races at the Dutch National Championships yielded biomechanical variables that were correlated to performance. There are fundamental differences in push-off mechanics between skating the straight parts and skating the curves. The left stroke shows a more powerful push-off in the curve, caused by a greater push off angle compared to the right leg. The high speed and power output of the better skaters is a result of a high amount of work per stroke, caused by a short and effective directed push-off. These results strongly support the previous finding that skaters of different performance levels can be distinguished by differences in amount of work per stroke and not by differences in stroke frequency.