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Maurice R. Yeadon and Mark A. King

The use of computer simulation models in studies of human movement is now widespread. Most of these models, however, have not been evaluated in a quantitative manner in order to establish the level of accuracy that may be expected. Without such an evaluation, little credence should be given to the published results and conclusions. This paper presents a simulation model of tumbling takeoffs which is evaluated by comparing the simulation output with an actual performance of an elite gymnast. A five-segment planar model was developed to simulate tumbling takeoffs. The model comprised rigid foot, leg, thigh, trunk + head, and arm segments with two damped linear springs to represent the elasticity of the tumbling track/ gymnast interface. Torque generators were included at the ankle, knee, hip, and shoulder joints in order to allow each joint to open actively during the takeoff. The model was customized to the elite gymnast by determining subject-specific inertia and torque parameters. Good agreement was found between actual and simulated tumbling performances of a double layout somersault with 1% difference in the linear and angular momenta at takeoff. Allowing the activation timings of the four torque generators to vary resulted in an optimized simulation that was some 0.32 m higher than the evaluation simulation. These simulations suggest the model is a realistic representation of the elite gymnast, since otherwise the model would either fail to reproduce the double layout somersault or would produce a very different optimized solution.

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Mark A. King and Maurice R. Yeadon

This paper describes a method for defining the maximum torque that can be produced at a joint from isovelocity torque measurements on an individual. The method is applied to an elite male gymnast in order to calculate subject-specific joint torque parameters for the knee joint. Isovelocity knee extension torque data were collected for the gymnast using a two-repetition concentric-eccentric protocol over a 75° range of crank motion at preset crank angular velocities ranging from 20 to 250°s–1. During these isovelocity movements, differences of up to 35° were found between the angle of the dynamometer crank and the knee joint angle of the participant. In addition, faster preset crank angular velocities gave smaller ranges of isovelocity motion for both the crank and joint. The simulation of an isovelocity movement at a joint angular velocity of 150°s–1 showed that, for realistic series elastic component extensions, the angular velocity of the joint can be assumed to be the same as the angular velocity of the contractile component during most of the isovelocity trial. Fitting an 18-parameter exponential function to experimental isovelocity joint torque/ angle/ angular velocity data resulted in a surface that was well behaved over the complete range of angular velocities and within the specified range of joint angles used to calculate the surface.

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Peter J. Worthington, Mark A. King and Craig A. Ranson

The aim of this study was to identify the key aspects of technique that characterize the fastest bowlers. Kinematic data were collected for 20 elite male fast bowlers with 11 kinematic parameters calculated, describing elements of fast bowling technique that have previously been linked to ball release speed. Four technique variables were identified as being the best predictors of ball release speed, explaining 74% of the observed variation in ball release speed. The results indicate that the fastest bowlers have a quicker run-up and maintain a straighter knee throughout the front foot contact phase. The fastest bowlers were also observed to exhibit larger amounts of upper trunk flexion up to ball release and to delay the onset of arm circumduction. This study identifies those technique variables that best explain the differences in release speeds among fast bowlers. These results are likely to be useful in both the coaching and talent identification of fast bowlers.

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Behzat B. Kentel, Mark A. King and Sean R. Mitchell

A torque-driven, subject-specific 3-D computer simulation model of the impact phase of one-handed tennis backhand strokes was evaluated by comparing performance and simulation results. Backhand strokes of an elite subject were recorded on an artificial tennis court. Over the 50-ms period after impact, good agreement was found with an overall RMS difference of 3.3° between matching simulation and performance in terms of joint and racket angles. Consistent with previous experimental research, the evaluation process showed that grip tightness and ball impact location are important factors that affect postimpact racket and arm kinematics. Associated with these factors, the model can be used for a better understanding of the eccentric contraction of the wrist extensors during one-handed backhand ground strokes, a hypothesized mechanism of tennis elbow.

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Maurice R. Yeadon, Pui W. Kong and Mark A. King

This study used kinematic data on springboard diving performances to estimate viscoelastic parameters of a planar model of a springboard and diver with wobbling masses in the trunk, thigh, and calf segments and spring dampers acting at the heel, ball, and toe of the foot segment. A subject-specific angle-driven eight-segment model was used with an optimization algorithm to determine viscoelastic parameter values by matching simulations to four diving performances. Using the parameters determined from the matching of a single dive in a simulation of another dive resulted in up to 31% difference between simulation and performance, indicating the danger of using too small a set of kinematic data. However, using four dives in a combined matching process to obtain a common set of parameters resulted in a mean difference of 8.6%. Because these four dives included very different rotational requirements, it is anticipated that the combined parameter set can be used with other dives from these two groups.

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Paul J. Felton, Maurice R. Yeadon and Mark A. King

Planar simulation models which assume coincident joint centers at the hip and shoulder are often used to investigate subject-specific maximal performances rather than 3-dimensional models due to the viability of determining subject-specific parameters. To investigate the effect of coincident joint centers on model accuracy, 3 variants of a 16-segment planar subject-specific angle-driven model were evaluated using an elite cricket fast bowling performance: (a) planar representation assuming coincident joint centers, (b) planar representation with noncoincident hip joint centers, and (c) planar representation with noncoincident hip and shoulder joint centers. Model (c) with noncoincident hip and shoulder joint centers best matched the recorded performance with better estimates of the ground reaction force (mean RMS differences: (a) 18%, (b) 12%, and (c) 11%) and ball release velocity (mean RMS differences: (a) 3.8%, (b) 3.2%, and (c) 1.7%) due to a better representation of the mass center location and link system endpoint velocity. Investigations into the subject-specific performance of maximal effort movements, where nonsagittal plane rotations of the pelvis and torso could affect model accuracy, should consider the use of noncoincident hip and shoulder joint centers within a planar model rather than using a simple planar model or a full 3-dimensional model.

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Mark A. King, Cassie Wilson and Maurice R. Yeadon

This study used an optimization procedure to evaluate an 8-segment torque-driven subject-specific computer simulation model of the takeoff phase in running jumps for height. Kinetic and kinematic data were obtained on a running jump performed by an elite male high jumper. Torque generator activation timings were varied to minimize the difference between simulation and performance in terms of kinematic and kinetic variables subject to constraints on the joint angles at takeoff to ensure that joints remained within their anatomical ranges of motion. A percentage difference of 6.6% between simulation and recorded performance was obtained. Maximizing the height reached by the mass center during the flight phase by varying torque generator activation timings resulted in a credible height increase of 90 mm compared with the matching simulation. These two results imply that the model is sufficiently complex and has appropriate strength parameters to give realistic simulations of running jumps for height.

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Filipe Conceição, Mark A. King, Maurice R. Yeadon, Martin G.C. Lewis and Stephanie E. Forrester

This study aimed to determine whether subject-specific individual muscle models for the ankle plantar flexors could be obtained from single joint isometric and isovelocity maximum torque measurements in combination with a model of plantar flexion. Maximum plantar flexion torque measurements were taken on one subject at six knee angles spanning full flexion to full extension. A planar three-segment (foot, shank and thigh), two-muscle (soleus and gastrocnemius) model of plantar flexion was developed. Seven parameters per muscle were determined by minimizing a weighted root mean square difference (wRMSD) between the model output and the experimental torque data. Valid individual muscle models were obtained using experimental data from only two knee angles giving a wRMSD score of 16 N m, with values ranging from 11 to 17 N m for each of the six knee angles. The robustness of the methodology was confirmed through repeating the optimization with perturbed experimental torques (±20%) and segment lengths (±10%) resulting in wRMSD scores of between 13 and 20 N m. Hence, good representations of maximum torque can be achieved from subject-specific individual muscle models determined from single joint maximum torque measurements. The proposed methodology could be applied to muscle-driven models of human movement with the potential to improve their validity.

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Martin G.C. Lewis, Mark A. King, Maurice R. Yeadon and Filipe Conceição

This study determines whether maximal voluntary ankle plantar flexor torque could be more accurately represented using a torque generator that is a function of both knee and ankle kinematics. Isovelocity and isometric ankle plantar flexor torques were measured on a single participant for knee joint angles of 111° to 169° (approximately full extension) using a Contrex MJ dynamometer. Maximal voluntary torque was represented by a 19-parameter two-joint function of ankle and knee joint angles and angular velocities with the parameters determined by minimizing a weighted root mean square difference between measured torques and the two-joint function. The weighted root mean square difference between the two-joint function and the measured torques was 10 N-m or 3% of maximum torque. The two-joint function was a more accurate representation of maximal voluntary ankle plantar flexor torques than an existing single-joint function where differences of 19% of maximum torque were found. It is concluded that when the knee is flexed by more than 40°, a two-joint representation is necessary.