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Jongseong An, Gabriele Wulf and Seonjin Kim

We examined the effects of attentional focus instructions on the learning of movement form and carry distance in low-skilled golfers. The X-factor describes the rotation of the shoulders relative to the pelvis, and its increase during the downswing (so-called X-factor stretch) is associated with the carry distance of the ball. X-factor stretch and carry distance have been shown to be associated with an early weight shift toward the front leg during the downswing. In our study, one group (internal focus, IF) was instructed to focus on shifting their weight to their left foot while hitting the ball, whereas another group (external focus, EF) was instructed to focus on pushing against the left side of the ground. A control (C) group was not given attentional focus instructions. Participants performed 100 practice trials. Learning was assessed after a 3-day interval in a retention test without focus instructions. The EF group demonstrated a greater carry distance, X-factor stretch, and higher maximum angular velocities of the pelvis, shoulder, and wrist than both the IF and C groups, which showed very similar performances. These findings demonstrate that both movement outcome and form can be enhanced in complex skill learning by providing the learner with an appropriate external focus instruction. Moreover, they show that a single external focus cue can be sufficient to elicit an effective whole-body coordination pattern.

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Gilles Dietrich, Alan Mark Wing, Martine Gilles and Ian Nimmo-Smith

This paper presents a conceptual model for studying the contribution of each leg to sideways stability of a four-link biped. It was assumed that a linear feedback controller maintained balance with torque related to the deviation from a reference value of the angle made by the trunk with the vertical. Predictions for ground reaction forces produced in resisting sideways push at the pelvis, based on simulation using a simple linear controller, are presented for two special cases (using one or both legs). This simple model was then compared to experimental data in which participants were asked to resist a sideways push. It was observed that all participants employed a strategy in which one leg was used to develop the force response. With this simple model, it was possible to simulate different kinds of responses to the balance perturbation. This model could be considered the first step of a more complex model in order to include specific components related to physiological parameters.

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Yungchien Chu, Glenn S. Fleisig, Kathy J. Simpson and James R. Andrews

The purpose of the current study was to identify the biomechanical features of elite female baseball pitching. Kinematics and kinetics of eleven elite female baseball pitchers were reported and compared with eleven elite male pitchers. Results suggested that females share many similarities with males in pitching kinematics, with a few significant differences. Specifically, at the instant of stride foot contact, a female pitcher had a shorter and more open stride and less separation between pelvis orientation and upper torso orientation. From foot contact to ball release, a female pitcher produced lower peak angular velocity for throwing elbow extension and stride knee extension. Ball velocity was lower for the female. Foot contact to ball release took more time for a female pitcher. Maximal proximal forces at the shoulder and elbow joints were less for a female pitcher.

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Becky L. Heinert, Thomas W. Kernozek, John F. Greany and Dennis C. Fater

Objective:

To determine if females with hip abductor weakness are more likely to demonstrate greater knee abduction during the stance phase of running than a strong hip abductor group.

Study Design:

Observational prospective study design.

Setting:

University biomechanics laboratory.

Participants:

15 females with weak hip abductors and 15 females with strong hip abductors.

Main Outcome Measures:

Group differences in lower extremity kinematics were analyzed using repeated measures ANOVA with one between factor of group and one within factor of position with a significance value of P < .05.

Results:

The subjects with weak hip abductors demonstrated greater knee abduction during the stance phase of treadmill running than the strong group (P < .05). No other significant differences were found in the sagittal or frontal plane measurements of the hip, knee, or pelvis.

Conclusions:

Hip abductor weakness may influence knee abduction during the stance phase of running.

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Karrie L. Hamstra-Wright and Kellie Huxel Bliven

Clinical Scenario:

The gluteus medius (GM) is thought to play an important role in stabilizing the pelvis and controlling femoral adduction and internal rotation during functional activity. GM weakness, resulting in decreased stabilization and control, has been suggested to be related to lower extremity dysfunction and injury. Many clinicians focus on strengthening the GM to improve lower extremity kinematics for the prevention and rehabilitation of injury. An indirect way to measure GM strength is through electromyography. It is generally assumed that exercises producing higher levels of activation will result in greater strengthening effects.3 Understanding what exercises result in the greatest level of GM activation will assist clinicians in their injury prevention and rehabilitation efforts.

Focused Clinical Question:

In a healthy adult population, what lower extremity exercises produce the greatest mean GM activation, expressed as a percentage of maximum voluntary isometric contraction?

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Philippe C. Dixon and David J. Pearsall

The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of cross-slope on gait dynamics. Ten young adult males walked barefoot along an inclinable walkway. Ground reaction forces (GRFs), lower-limb joint kinematics, global pelvis orientation, functional leg-length, and joint reaction moments (JRMs) were measured. Statistical analyses revealed differences across limbs (up-slope [US] and down-slope [DS]) and inclinations (level; 0°; and cross-sloped, 6°). Adaptations included increases of nearly 300% in mediolateral GRFs (p < .001), functional shortening the US-limb and elongation of the DS-limb (p < .001), reduced step width (p = .024), asymmetrical changes in sagittal kinematics and JRM, and numerous pronounced coronal plane differences including increased US-hip adduction (and adductor moment) and decreased DS-hip adduction (and adductor moment). Data suggests that modest cross-slopes can induce substantial asymmetrical changes in gait dynamics and may represent a physical obstacle to populations with restricted mobility.

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Glenn S. Fleisig, Rafael F. Escamilla, James R. Andrews, Tomoyuki Matsuo, Yvonne Satterwhite and Steve W. Barrentine

Kinematic and kinetic aspects of baseball pitching and football passing were compared. Twenty-six high school and collegiate pitchers and 26 high school and collegiate quarterbacks were analyzed using three-dimensional high-speed motion analysis. Although maximum shoulder external rotation occurred earlier for quarterbacks, maximum angular velocity of pelvis rotation, upper torso rotation, elbow extension, and shoulder internal rotation occurred earlier and achieved greater magnitude for pitchers. Quarterbacks had shorter strides and stood more erect at ball release. During arm cocking, quarterbacks demonstrated greater elbow flexion and shoulder horizontal adduction. To decelerate the arm, pitchers generated greater compressive force at the elbow and greater compressive force and adduction torque at the shoulder. These results may help explain differences in performance and injury rates between the two sports.

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Joseph S. Soltys and Sara E. Wilson

Regulating spinal motion requires proprioceptive feedback. While studies have investigated the sensing of static lumbar postures, few have investigated sensing lumbar movement speed. In this study, proprioceptive contributions to lateral trunk motion were examined during paraspinal muscle vibration. Seventeen healthy subjects performed lateral trunk flexion movements while lying prone with pelvis fixed. A 44.5-Hz vibratory stimulus was applied to the paraspinal muscles at the L3 level. Subjects attempted to match target paces of 9.5, 13.5, and 17.5 deg/s with and without paraspinal muscle vibration. Vibration of the paraspinal musculature was found to result in slower overall lateral flexion. This effect was found to have a greater influence in the difference of directional velocities with vibration applied to the left musculature. These changes reflect the sensitivity of lumbar velocity sense to applied vibration leading to the perception of faster muscle lengthening and ultimately resulting in slower movement velocities. This suggests that muscle spindle organs modulate the ability to sense velocity of motion and are important in the control of dynamic motion of the spine.

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Li-Xin Guo, Zhao-Wen Wang, Yi-Min Zhang, Kim-Kheng Lee, Ee-Chon Teo, He Li and Bang-Chun Wen

The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of material property changes in the spinal components on the resonant frequency characteristics of the human spine. Several investigations have reported the material property sensitivity of human spine under static loading conditions, but less research has been devoted to the material property sensitivity of spinal biomechanical characteristics under a vibration environment. A detailed three-dimensional finite element model of the human spine, T12– pelvis, was built and used to predict the influence of material property variation on the resonant frequencies of the human spine. The simulation results reveal that material properties of spinal components have obvious influences on the dynamic characteristics of the spine. The annulus ground substance is the dominant component affecting the vertical resonant frequencies of the spine. The percentage change of the resonant frequency relative to the basic condition was more than 20% if Young’s modulus of disc annulus is less than 1.5 MPa. The vertical resonant frequency may also decrease if Poisson’s ratio of nucleus pulposus of intervertebral disc decreases.

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Haidzir Manaf, Maria Justine and Hui-Ting Goh

Attentional loadings deteriorate straight walking performance for individuals poststroke, but its effects on turning while walking remain to be determined. Here we compared turning kinematics under three attentional loading conditions (single, dual-motor, and dual-cognitive task) between stroke survivors and healthy controls. Nine chronic stroke survivors and 10 healthy controls performed the Timed Upand- Go test while their full-body kinematics were recorded. Onset times of yaw rotation of the head, thorax and pelvis segments and head anticipation distance were used to quantify turning coordination. Results showed that stroke survivors reoriented their body segments much earlier than the controls, but they preserved the similar segmental reorientation sequence under the single-task condition. For the healthy controls, attentional loading led to an earlier axial segment reorientation, but the reorientation sequence was preserved. In contrast, the dual-cognitive task condition led to a disrupted reorientation sequence in stroke. The results indicate that turning coordination was altered in individuals poststroke, especially under the dual-task interference.