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Julien Jacquier-Bret, Arnaud Faupin, Nasser Rezzoug and Philippe Gorce

The aim of this study was to propose a new index called Postural Force Production Index (PFPI) for evaluating the force production during handcycling. For a given posture, it assesses the force generation capacity in all Cartesian directions by linking the joint configuration to the effective force applied on the handgrips. Its purpose is to give insight into the force pattern of handcycling users, and could be used as ergonomic index. The PFPI is based on the force ellipsoid, which belongs to the class of manipulability indices and represents the overall force production capabilities at the hand in all Cartesian directions from unit joint torques. The kinematics and kinetics of the arm were recorded during a 1-min exercise test on a handcycle at 70 revolutions per minute performed by one paraplegic expert in handcycling. The PFPI values were compared with the Fraction Effective Force (FEF), which is classically associated with the effectiveness of force application. The results showed a correspondence in the propulsion cycle between FEF peaks and the most favorable postures to produce a force tangential to the crank rotation (PFPI). This preliminary study opens a promising way to study patterns of force production in the framework of handcycling movement analysis.