Anticipatory postural adjustments in the back and leg lift

H.M. Toussaint, D.A.C.M. Commissaris, P.J. Beek

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    This study examined anticipatory postural adjustments in a dynamic multi-joint action in which a relatively fast voluntary movement is being executed while balance is maintained in the field of gravity. In a bi-manual whole body lifting task, the pickup of the load induces a forward shift in the position of the center of mass, challenging the dynamic balance regulation while simultaneously impeding the ongoing extension movement. We investigated whether anticipatory postural adjustments are an addition to a voluntary motor command or an inherent component of this command. Using a global mechanical analysis of the movement, we found that anticipatory postural adjustments are present in bimanual lifting, both in back lifting and leg lifting, and that lifting technique had a significant influence on the pattern of the adjustments. If the mass of the object was reduced unexpectedly, balance was disturbed in 92% of the mass-reduced trials. These findings suggest that the anticipatory postural adjustments to be performed are specified in advance such that the expected changes in the mechanical interaction with the environment are taken into account. The observations lend support to the hypothesis that the control of the observed anticipatory postural adjustments is an integral part of the control of the lifting movement itself. Consequently, the strict dichotomy in the control of posture and movement is being questioned.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1216-1224
    JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
    Publication statusPublished - 1997


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