Humans make near-optimal adjustments of control to initial body configuration in vertical squat jumping

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    Abstract

    We investigated adjustments of control to initial posture in squat jumping. Eleven male subjects jumped from three initial postures: preferred initial posture (PP), a posture in which the trunk was rotated 18° more backward (BP) and a posture in which it was rotated 15° more forward (FP) than in PP. Kinematics, ground reaction forces and electromyograms (EMG) were collected. EMG was rectified and smoothed to obtain smoothed rectified EMG (srEMG). Subjects showed adjustments in srEMG histories, most conspicuously a shift in srEMG-onset of rectus femoris (REC): from early in BP to late in FP. Jumps from the subjects' initial postures were simulated with a musculoskeletal model comprising four segments and six Hill-type muscles, which had muscle stimulation (STIM) over time as input. STIM of each muscle changed from initial to maximal at STIM-onset, and STIM-onsets were optimized using jump height as criterion. Optimal simulated jumps from BP, PP and FP were similar to jumps of the subjects. Optimal solutions primarily differed in STIM-onset of REC: from early in BP to late in FP. Because the subjects' adjustments in srEMG-onsets were similar to adjustments of the model's optimal STIM-onsets, it was concluded that the former were near-optimal. With the model we also showed that near-maximum jumps from BP, PP and FP could be achieved when STIM-onset of REC depended on initial hip joint angle and STIM-onsets of the other muscles were posture-independent. A control theory that relies on a mapping from initial posture to STIM-onsets seems a parsimonious alternative to theories relying on internal optimal control models. © 2013 IBRO.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)232-242
    JournalNeuroscience
    Volume237
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

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