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J.-M. John Wilson, D. Gordon E. Robertson and J. Peter Stothart

In an effort to seek further understanding of lower limb muscle function in the rowing movement, an electromyographic analysis was undertaken of rowers rowing on a Gjessing ergometer. A strain gauged transducer was inserted in the ergometer linkage between handle and flywheel to detect pulling force. Electrodes were placed on the following lower limb muscles: gluteus maximus, biceps femoris, rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, gastrocnemius, and tibialis anterior. Linear envelope electromyograms from each muscle and the force signals were sampled synchronously at 50 Hz. The results indicated that all six muscles were active from catch to finish of the drive phase. Biceps femoris, gluteus maximus, gastrocnemius, and vastus lateralis all began their activity at or just prior to catch and reached maximal excitation near peak force of the stroke. Rectus femoris and tibialis anterior activity began prior to the catch and reached maximal excitation subsequent to peak force. The coactivation of the five leg muscles, of which four were biarticular, included potentially antagonistic actions that would cancel each other’s effects. Clearly, however, other explanations must be considered. Both gastrocnemius and biceps femoris have been shown to act as knee extensors and may do so in the case of the rowing action. Furthermore, rectus femoris may act with unchanging length as a knee extensor by functioning as a rigid link between the pelvis and tibia. In this manner, energy created by the hip extensors is transferred across the knee joint via the isometrically contracting rectus femoris muscle.

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Jennifer E. Earl

Context:

Gluteus medius (GM) contraction during single-leg stance prevents the contralateral pelvis from “dropping,” providing stability for lower extremity motion.

Objective:

To determine which combination of hip rotation and abduction exercise results in the greatest activity of the GM and whether the GM responds to increased loads in these exercises.

Design and Setting:

Repeated measures, laboratory.

Subjects:

20 healthy volunteers.

Interventions:

Resistance (2.26 and 4.53 kg) was provided to 3 variations of a single-leg-stance exercise: hip abduction only, abduction-internal rotation (ABD-IR), and abduction-external rotation.

Measurements:

Muscle activity was recorded from the anterior and middle portions of the GM using surface electromyography.

Results:

ABD-IR produced the most activity in the anterior and middle sections of the GM muscle. The 4.53-kg load produced significantly more activity than the 2.26-kg load (P < .05).

Conclusions:

The GM is most active when performing abduction and internal rotation of the hip. This information could be used to develop GM-strengthening exercises.

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Rodrigo de Marche Baldon, Daniel Ferreira Moreira Lobato, Lívia Pinheiro Carvalho, Paulo Roberto Pereira Santiago, Benedito Galvão Benze and Fábio Viadanna Serrão

The purposes of this study were to compare lower-limb kinematics between genders, and determine the relationships among eccentric hip abductor and lateral rotator torques and lower-limb kinematics. The movements of the pelvis, femur, and knee were calculated for 16 women and 16 men during the single-leg squat. Eccentric hip abductor and lateral rotator torques were measured using an isokinetic dynamometer. The results showed that women had greater contralateral pelvic depression, femur adduction, and knee abduction than men. The eccentric hip abductor and lateral rotator torques were correlated with coronal plane femur and knee movements in the overall sample. When the genders were analyzed separately, it was observed that women with greater eccentric hip abductor torque exhibited less femur adduction and femur medial rotation, and greater knee adduction excursion. No significant relationship was observed between the isokinetic and kinematic variables in the male group. The differences between the genders help to explain the greater rate of knee disorders observed in women. Moreover, the eccentric hip abduction action seemed to be more important in women to control the lower-limb movements.

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Yoichi Iino, Atsushi Fukushima and Takeji Kojima

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relevance of hip joint angles to the production of the pelvic rotation torque in fast-pitch softball hitting and to examine the effect of ball height on this production. Thirteen advanced female softball players hit stationary balls at three different heights: high, middle, and low. The pelvic rotation torque, defined as the torque acting on the pelvis through the hip joints about the pelvic superior–inferior axis, was determined from the kinematic and force plate data using inverse dynamics. Irrespective of the ball heights, the rear hip extension, rear hip external rotation, front hip adduction, and front hip flexion torques contributed to the production of pelvic rotation torque. Although the contributions of the adduction and external rotation torques at each hip joint were significantly different among the ball heights, the contributions of the front and rear hip joint torques were similar among the three ball heights owing to cancelation of the two torque components. The timings of the peaks of the hip joint torque components were significantly different, suggesting that softball hitters may need to adjust the timings of the torque exertions fairly precisely to rotate the upper body effectively.

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Kurt L. Mudie, Amitabh Gupta, Simon Green, Hiroaki Hobara and Peter J. Clothier

This study assessed the agreement between Kvert calculated from 4 different methods of estimating vertical displacement of the center of mass (COM) during single-leg hopping. Healthy participants (N = 38) completed a 10-s single-leg hopping effort on a force plate, with 3D motion of the lower limb, pelvis, and trunk captured. Derived variables were calculated for a total of 753 hop cycles using 4 methods, including: double integration of the vertical ground reaction force, law of falling bodies, a marker cluster on the sacrum, and a segmental analysis method. Bland-Altman plots demonstrated that Kvert calculated using segmental analysis and double integration methods have a relatively small bias (0.93 kN⋅m–1) and 95% limits of agreement (–1.89 to 3.75 kN⋅m–1). In contrast, a greater bias was revealed between sacral marker cluster and segmental analysis (–2.32 kN⋅m–1), sacral marker cluster and double integration (–3.25 kN⋅m–1), and the law of falling bodies compared with all methods (17.26–20.52 kN⋅m–1). These findings suggest the segmental analysis and double integration methods can be used interchangeably for the calculation of Kvert during single-leg hopping. The authors propose the segmental analysis method to be considered the gold standard for the calculation of Kvert during single-leg, on-the-spot hopping.

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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.

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Maureen I. Ogamba, Kari L. Loverro, Natalie M. Laudicina, Simone V. Gill and Cara L. Lewis

During pregnancy, the female body experiences structural changes, such as weight gain. As pregnancy advances, most of the additional mass is concentrated anteriorly on the lower trunk. The purpose of this study is to analyze kinematic and kinetic changes when load is added anteriorly to the trunk, simulating a physical change experienced during pregnancy. Twenty healthy females walked on a treadmill while wearing a custom made pseudo-pregnancy sac (1 kg) under 3 load conditions: sac-only condition, 10-lb condition (4.535 kg added anteriorly), and 20-lb condition (9.07 kg added anteriorly), used to simulate pregnancy in the second trimester and at full-term pregnancy, respectively. The increase in anterior mass resulted in kinematic changes at the knee, hip, pelvis, and trunk in the sagittal and frontal planes. In addition, ankle, knee, and hip joint moments normalized to baseline mass increased with increased load; however, these moments decreased when normalized to total mass. These kinematic and kinetic changes may suggest that women modify gait biomechanics to reduce the effect of added load. Furthermore, the increase in joint moments increases stress on the musculoskeletal system and may contribute to musculoskeletal pain.

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Ram Haddas, Steven F. Sawyer, Phillip S. Sizer, Toby Brooks, Ming-Chien Chyu and C. Roger James

Introduction:

Recurrent lower back pain (rLBP) and neuromuscular fatigue are independently thought to increase the risk of lower extremity (LE) injury. Volitional preemptive abdominal contraction (VPAC) is thought to improve lumbar spine and pelvis control in individuals with rLBP. The effects of VPAC on fatigued landing performance in individuals with rLBP are unknown.

Objectives:

To determine the effects of VPAC and LE fatigue on landing performance in a rLBP population.

Design:

Cross-sectional pretest-posttest cohort control design.

Setting:

A clinical biomechanics laboratory.

Subjects:

32 rLBP (age 21.2 ± 2.7 y) but without current symptoms and 33 healthy (age 20.9 ± 2.3 y) subjects.

Intervention(s):

(i) Volitional preemptive abdominal contraction using abdominal bracing and (ii) fatigue using submaximal free-weight squat protocol with 15% body weight until task failure was achieved.

Main Outcome Measure(s):

Knee and ankle angles, moments, electromyographic measurements from semitendinosus and vastus medialis muscles, and ground reaction force (GRF) were collected during 0.30 m drop-jump landings.

Results:

The VPAC resulted in significantly earlier muscle onsets across all muscles with and without fatigue in both groups (mean ± SD, 0.063 ± 0.016 s earlier; P ≤ .001). Fatigue significantly delayed semitendinosus muscle onsets (0.033 ± 0.024 s later; P ≤ .001), decreased GRF (P ≤ .001), and altered landing kinematics in a variety of ways. The rLBP group exhibited delayed semitendinosus and vastus medialis muscle onsets (0.031 ± 0.028 s later; P ≤ .001) and 1.8° less knee flexion at initial contact (P ≤ .008).

Conclusion:

The VPAC decreases some of the detrimental effects of fatigue on landing biomechanics and thus may reduce LE injury risk in a rLBP population.

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Rafael F. Escamilla, Glenn S. Fleisig, Coop DeRenne, Marcus K. Taylor, Claude T. Moorman III, Rodney Imamura, Edward Barakatt and James R. Andrews

We propose that learning proper hitting kinematics should be encouraged at a young age during youth baseball because this may help reinforce proper hitting kinematics as a player progresses to higher levels of baseball in their adult years. To enhance our understanding between youth and adult baseball hitting, kinematic and temporal analyses of baseball hitting were evaluated with a high-speed motion analysis system between 12 skilled youth and 12 skilled adult baseball players. There were only a small number of temporal differences between youth and adult hitters, with adult hitters taking significantly greater time than youth hitters during the stride phase and during the swing. Compared with youth hitters, adult hitters a) had significantly greater (p < .01) lead knee flexion when the hands started to move forward; b) flexed the lead knee over a greater range of motion during the transition phase (31° versus 13°); c) extended the lead knee over a greater range of motion during the bat acceleration phase (59° versus 32°); d) maintained a more open pelvis position at lead foot off ground; and e) maintained a more open upper torso position when the hands started to move forward and a more closed upper torso position at bat-ball contact. Moreover, adult hitters had greater peak upper torso angular velocity (857°/s versus 717°/s), peak left elbow extension angular velocity (752°/s versus 598°/s), peak left knee extension angular velocity (386°/s versus 303°/s), and bat linear velocity at bat-ball contact (30 m/s versus 25 m/s). The numerous differences in kinematic and temporal parameters between youth and adult hitters suggest that hitting mechanics are different between these two groups.

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Sébastien Viel, Marianne Vaugoyeau and Christine Assaiante

In the current study, we adopted the hypothesis that the body scheme disturbances occurring during adolescence might lead subjects to transiently neglect proprioceptive information and that adolescents might rely more strongly on vision to control their orientation and stabilize their body. To check this point, we asked adolescents 14–15 years to maintain vertical stance while very slow sinusoidal oscillations in the frontal plane were applied to the supporting platform at 0.01 Hz (below the detection threshold of the semicircular canal system) and at 0.06 Hz (above) with the eyes open and closed. Two postural components, orientation and segmental stabilization, were analyzed at the head, shoulder, trunk, and pelvis levels. At the lowest frequency without vision, the performances of adolescents were much less efficient than those of adults. Moreover, this study showed that vision plays a predominant role in adolescents’ control of orientation and body stabilization. At 0.06 Hz without vision, a clearcut difference was observed between the strategies used by girls and boys; specifically, the maturation of the segmental stabilization processes was found to be more advanced in girls than in boys. However, no such difference was observed at 0.01 Hz. Lastly, comparisons between the data obtained in adolescents and those previously obtained in young adults (Vaugoyeau, Viel, Amblard, Azulay, & Assaiante, 2008) clearly show that adolescents use different postural strategies and that they are not yet capable of reaching comparable postural performance levels to those observed in adults. Because adolescents were not able to use the proprioceptive information available to improve their postural control, we concluded that they showed a maturational lag in comparison with adults. This suggests that the mechanisms underlying postural control are still maturing during adolescence, which might constitute a transient period of proprioceptive neglect in sensory integration of postural control.