Control of the lateral abdominal muscles during walking.

H. Hu, O.G. Meijer, P.W. Hodges, S.M. Bruijn, R.L.M. Strijers, P.W.B. Nanayakkara, B.J. van Royen, W.H. Wu, C. Xia, J.H. van Dieen

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Transversus abdominis (TA), obliquus internus (OI), and obliquus externus (OE) are involved in multiple functions: breathing, control of trunk orientation, and stabilization of the pelvis and spine. How these functions are coordinated has received limited attention. We studied electromyographic (EMG) activity of right-sided muscles and 3-dimensional moments during treadmill walking at six different speeds (1.4-5.4. km/h) in sixteen healthy young women. PCA revealed time series of trunk moments to be consistent across speeds and subjects though somewhat less in the sagittal plane. All three muscles were active during ≥075% of the stride cycle, indicative of a stabilizing function. Clear phasic modulations were observed, with TA more active during ipsilateral, and OE during contralateral swing, while OI activity was largely symmetrical. Fourier analysis revealed four main frequencies in muscle activity: respiration, stride frequency, step frequency, and a triphasic pattern. With increasing speed, the absolute power of all frequencies remained constant or increased; the relative power of respiration and stride-related activities decreased, while that of step-related activity and the triphasic pattern increased. Effects of speed were gradual, and EMG linear envelopes had considerable common variance (>70%) across speeds within subjects, suggesting that the same functions were performed at all speeds. Maximum cross-correlations between moments and muscle activity were 0.2-0.6, and further analyses in the time domain revealed both simultaneous and consecutive task execution. To deal with conflicting constraints, the activity of the three muscles was clearly coordinated, with co-contraction of antagonists to offset unwanted mechanical side-effects of each individual muscle. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)880-896
JournalHuman movement science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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