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Matthew T.G. Pain

Bilateral deficit is well documented; however, bilateral deficit is not present in all tasks and is more likely in dynamic activities than isometric activities. No definitive mechanism(s) for bilateral deficit is known but an oft cited mechanism is lower activation of fast twitch motor units. The aim of this study was to produce comparable and consistent one and two legged drop jumps to examine bilateral deficit in elite power athletes and elite endurance athletes. Seven power athletes and seven endurance athletes performed single and double leg drop jumps from a range of heights that equalized loading per leg in terms of: height dropped, energy absorbed, and momentum absorbed. Force and motion data were collected at 800 Hz. Bilateral deficit for jump height, peak concentric force, and peak concentric power were calculated. Power athletes had a significantly greater (P < .05) bilateral deficit for jump height and peak power, possibly due to power athletes having more fast twitch motor units, however, endurance athletes generally had a bilateral surfeit which could confound this inference. Results indicate that equalizing loading by impulse per leg is the most appropriate and that a consistent drop height can be obtained with a short 10 minute coaching session.

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Matthew T.G. Pain and John H. Challis

The aims of this study were to quantify intrasegmental motion using an array of 28 surface-mounted markers to examine frequency and amplitude measurements of the intrasegmental motion to calculate forces and energy transfer; and to show that the underlying muscles are a major contributor to the skin marker motion. One participant performed 27 trials under three conditions in which his forearm was struck against a solid object fixed to a force plate while the locations of the markers were recorded at 240 Hz. For impacts with equal peak forces, the muscle tension significantly affected the amount of intrasegmental motion. Tensing the arm reduced the intrasegmental motion by 50%. The quadrilateral sectors defined by the markers changed in area by 11% with approximately equal motion in the vertical and horizontal direction. The maximum linear marker motion was 1.7 cm. The intrasegmental motion had distinct frequency components around 14 and 20 Hz. Soft tissue deformation could account for 70% of the energy lost from the forearm during these impacts. The study has demonstrated the important role that intrasegment soft tissue motion can have on the kinetics of an impact.

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Matthew T.G. Pain and John H. Challis

This study had two purposes: to evaluate a new method for measuring segmental dimensions for determining body segment inertial parameters (BSIP), and to evaluate the changes in mass distribution within a limb as a consequence of muscular contraction. BSIP were calculated by obtaining surface data points of the body under investigation using a sonic digitizer, interpolating them into a regular grid, and then using Green’s theorem which relates surface to volume integrals. Four skilled operators measured a test object; the error was approximately 2.5% and repeatability was 1.4% (coefficient of variation) in the determination of BSIP. Six operators took repeat measures on human lower legs; coefficients of variation were typically around 5%, and 3% for the more skilled operators. Location of the center of mass of the lower leg was found to move up 1.7 cm proximally when the triceps surae muscles went from a relaxed state to causing plantar flexion. The force during an impact associated with such motion of the soft tissue of the lower leg was estimated to be up to 300 N. In summary, a new repeatable and accurate method for determining BSIP has been developed, and has been used to evaluate body segment mass redistribution due to muscular contraction.

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Stephanie E. Forrester and Matthew T.G. Pain

This study aimed to identify areas of reduced surface EMG amplitude and changed frequency across the phase space of a maximal dynamic knee extension task. The hypotheses were that (1) amplitude would be lower for eccentric contractions compared with concentric contractions and unaffected by fiber length and (2) mean frequency would also be lower for eccentric contractions and unaffected by fiber length. Joint torque and EMG signals from the vasti and rectus femoris were recorded for eight athletic subjects performing maximum knee extensions at 13 preset crank velocities spanning ±300°⋅s−1. The instantaneous amplitude and mean frequency were calculated using the continuous wavelet transform time–frequency method, and the fiber dynamics were determined using a muscle model of the knee extensions. The results indicated that (1) only for the rectus femoris were amplitudes significantly lower for eccentric contractions (p = .019) and, for the vasti, amplitudes during eccentric contractions were less than maximal but this was also the case for concentric contractions due to a significant reduction in amplitude toward knee extension (p = .023), and (2) mean frequency increased significantly with decreasing fiber length for all knee extensors and contraction velocities (p = .029). Using time–frequency processing of the EMG signals and a muscle model allowed the simultaneous assessment of fiber length, velocity, and EMG.

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Chris Mills, Matthew T.G. Pain and Maurice R. Yeadon

Landing mats that can undergo a large amount of area deformation are now essential for the safe completion of landings in gymnastics. The objective of this study was to develop an analytical model of a landing mat that reproduces the key characteristics of the mat-ground force during impact with minimal simulation run time. A force plate and two high-speed video cameras were used to record the mat deformation during vertical drop testing of a 24-kg impactor. Four increasingly complex point mass spring-damper models, from a single mass spring-damper system, Model 1, to a 3-layer mass spring-damper system, Model 4, were constructed using Matlab to model the mat's behavior during impact. A fifth model composed of a 3-layer mass spring-damper system was developed using visual Nastran 4D. The results showed that Models 4 and 5 were able to match the loading phase of the impact with simulation times of less than 1 second for Model 4 and 28 seconds for Model 5. Both Models 4 and 5 successfully reproduced the key force-time characteristics of the mat-ground interface, such as peak forces, time of peak forces, interpeak minima and initial rates of loading, and could be incorporated into a gymnast-mat model.

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Matthew T.G. Pain and John H. Challis

Wobbling mass models have been used to gain insight into joint loading during impacts. This study investigated the sensitivity of a wobbling mass model of landing from a drop to the model's parameters. A 2-D wobbling mass model was developed. Three rigid linked segments designed to represent the skeleton each had a second mass attached to them, via two translational nonlinear spring dampers, representing the soft tissue. Model parameters were systematically varied one at a time and the effect this had on the peak vertical ground reaction force and segment kinematics was examined. Model output showed low sensitivity to most model parameters but was sensitive to the timing of joint torque initiation. Varying the heel pad stiffness in the range of stiffness values reported in the literature had the largest influence on peak vertical ground reaction force. The analysis indicated that the more proximal body segments had a lower influence on peak vertical ground reaction force per unit mass than the segments nearer the contact point. Model simulations were relatively insensitive to variations in the properties of the connection between wobbling masses and the skeleton. If the goal is to examine the effects of wobbling mass on the system, this insensitivity is an advantage, with the proviso that estimates for the other model parameters and joint torque activation timings lie in a realistic range. If precise knowledge about the motion of the wobbling mass is of interest, however, this calls for more experimental work to precisely determine these model parameters.

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Andy Roosen, Matthew T.G. Pain and Mickaël Begon

Much research is ongoing into improving the accuracy of functional algorithms to determine joint centers (JC), but there has been limited testing using human movement data. This paper is in three parts: Part 1, errors in determining JCs from real human movement data using the SCoRE method; Part 2, variability of marker combinations during a punch; Part 3, variability in the JC due to reconstruction. Results indicate determining the JC of the shoulder or elbow with a triad of markers per segment with an accuracy greater than 20 mm is unlikely. Part 2 suggests conducting a pilot study with abundant markers to obtain triads, which are most stable due to differences of 300–400% in variability between triads. Variability due to the choice of reference frame for reconstruction during the punch ranged from 2.5 to 13.8 mm for the shoulder and 1.5 to 21.1 mm for the elbow. It would appear more pertinent to enhance the practical methods in situ than to further improve theoretical accuracy of functional methods.