Research on Biomechanics, Motor Control and Learning of Human Movements

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Applied Biosciences and Bioengineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 August 2024 | Viewed by 7413

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Faculty of Arts & Science, Department of Kinesiology, University of Lethbridge, 4401 University Drive, Lethbridge, AB T1K 3M4, Canada
Interests: sports biomechanics; arts biomechanics; ergonomics; motor learning; sport engineering; equipment design and development
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The confluence of biomechanics, motor control and learning within the study of human movement presents a synergistic approach to exploring methodologies designed for measuring and analyzing human body movements as intricate mechanical systems. This interdisciplinary endeavor addresses a notable void within the realm of human movement science. It amalgamates contemporary scientific and technological advancements with the foundational knowledge of kinesiology to facilitate the assessment, comprehension, and the enhancement of various complicated human motor skills.

The primary objective of this Special Issue is to provide an up-to-date exposition of the latest developments in the fields of biomechanics, motor control and learning, and the acquisition of knowledge regarding human movements. Distinctively, this Special Issue seeks to emphasize facets of human motion that have hitherto been underrepresented in scholarly inquiries or remain uncharted terrain. Consequently, this call for contributions extends to scholars who are conducting research in the following areas:

Novel analytical techniques and methodologies: manuscripts that introduce novel and innovative analytical tools and methodologies aimed at unraveling the complexities inherent in human movement.

Unlock the secrets of human movement: studies that aim to demystify intricate patterns of various human motor skills and expand our analytical repertoire.

Advancements in 3D kinematics and kinetics: studies that seek to broaden the horizons of 3D kinematic and kinetic analysis or enrich our understanding by encompassing a wider spectrum of kinematic and kinetic data.

Real-time biomechanical feedback training: investigations that focus on the utility of real-time biomechanical feedback as a means to enhance training outcomes.

The integration of biomechanics into motor learning within coaching practice: research that delves into the realm of biomechanics-based motor learning and its application within coaching practices.

In short, this Special Issue aims to contribute to the ongoing evolution of human movement science and provide valuable insights for researchers and practitioners in the field.

Prof. Dr. Gongbing Shan
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • motion analysis
  • complicated human movements
  • biomechanical modeling
  • motor control
  • motor learning
  • biomechanical feedback training

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

18 pages, 3523 KiB  
Article
Effects of Hiking-Dependent Walking Speeds and Slopes on Spatiotemporal Gait Parameters and Ground Reaction Forces: A Treadmill-Based Analysis in Healthy Young Adults
by Ioannis Kafetzakis, Ilias Konstantinou and Dimitris Mandalidis
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(11), 4383; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14114383 - 22 May 2024
Viewed by 199
Abstract
Hiking offers both recreational enjoyment and physical challenges, requiring speed adjustments when traversing uphill and downhill slopes. These adjustments prompt compensatory responses in kinematics and kinetics to mitigate fatigue and musculoskeletal strains. The study aimed to explore the impact of slope-specific walking speeds [...] Read more.
Hiking offers both recreational enjoyment and physical challenges, requiring speed adjustments when traversing uphill and downhill slopes. These adjustments prompt compensatory responses in kinematics and kinetics to mitigate fatigue and musculoskeletal strains. The study aimed to explore the impact of slope-specific walking speeds on spatiotemporal gait parameters, vertical ground reaction forces (vGRFs), and position of the center of pressure (COP) during uphill and downhill walking. Thirty-two healthy individuals completed five 4-min walks on an instrumented treadmill set to 0% (level), +10%, and +20% (uphill), and −10% and −20% (downhill), slopes, at 5.0, 3.5, 2.5, 5.0 and 3.5 km h−1, respectively. Uphill walking led to reduced stride length and cadence, increased foot rotation, step time, and durations of stance, swing, and double-stance phases. Conversely, downhill walking exhibited decreased step length, step time, and durations of stance, swing, and double-stance phases but increased step width and cadence compared to level walking. Speed adjustments to accommodate slope led to reduced vGRFs for uphill and downhill walking. Additionally, the COP shifted forward during uphill and backward during downhill walking and displaced laterally as walking became more demanding. The observed responses indicate adaptations aimed at maintaining postural control, reducing excessive load application, and optimizing energy expenditure on sloping terrain. Full article
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9 pages, 495 KiB  
Article
Load Carriage and Changes in Spatiotemporal and Kinetic Biomechanical Foot Parameters during Quiet Stance in a Large Sample of Police Recruits
by Andro Štefan, Mario Kasović and Lovro Štefan
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(8), 3274; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14083274 - 12 Apr 2024
Viewed by 559
Abstract
Background: Little evidence has been provided regarding the effects of carrying standardized load equipment and foot parameters during quiet standing. Therefore, the main purpose of the study was to examine whether a load carriage might impact static foot parameters in police recruits. Methods: [...] Read more.
Background: Little evidence has been provided regarding the effects of carrying standardized load equipment and foot parameters during quiet standing. Therefore, the main purpose of the study was to examine whether a load carriage might impact static foot parameters in police recruits. Methods: Eight hundred and forty-five police recruits (27.9% women) were tested in ‘no load’ vs. standardized ‘3.5 kg load’ conditions. Foot characteristics during standing were assessed with the Zebris FDM pedobarographic pressure platform. Results: Carrying a 3.5 kg load significantly increased the 95% confidence ellipse area (∆ = 15.0%, p = 0.009), the center of pressure path length (∆ = 3.3%, p = 0.023) and average velocity (∆ = 11.1%, p = 0.014), the length of the minor axis (∆ = 8.2%, p < 0.009) and the deviation in the X (∆ = 12.4%, p = 0.005) and Y (∆ = 50.0%, p < 0.001) axes. For relative ground reaction forces, a significant increase in the left forefoot (∆ = 2.0%, p = 0.002) and a decrease in the left hindfoot (∆ = −2.0%, p = 0.002) were shown. No significant changes in relative ground reaction forces beneath the forefoot and hindfoot regions for the right foot were observed (p > 0.05). Conclusions: The findings suggest that spatial and temporal foot parameters may be more prone to change while carrying heavy loads, especially the center of pressure characteristics. Full article
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8 pages, 308 KiB  
Article
Impact of Differing Instability Devices on Postural Sway Parameters
by Kacey M. Wallace, Michael R. Brown, William C. Pannell, Jacob B. Daniels, Juliana C. Moore, Ayden K. McInnis, Paul T. Donahue and John C. Garner
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(7), 3029; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14073029 - 4 Apr 2024
Viewed by 489
Abstract
Single-limb balance training is integral to preventing and rehabilitating lower extremity injuries. Previous investigations have shown that when using instability devices, differences may or may not exist in the postural sway parameters during use, depending on the specific devices being assessed. Thus, this [...] Read more.
Single-limb balance training is integral to preventing and rehabilitating lower extremity injuries. Previous investigations have shown that when using instability devices, differences may or may not exist in the postural sway parameters during use, depending on the specific devices being assessed. Thus, this investigation sought to examine the differences between a commonly used foam pad and a novel instability device (block) in postural sway measures. Twenty-two healthy individuals with no history of lower extremity injury or neurological disorders participated in this investigation. The participants performed three single-limb static balance exercises on a force platform sampling at 120 Hz. Each condition contained three 10-s trials separated by thirty seconds. The mean CoP values of the three trials in each condition were then compared using a within-subjects repeated-measures analysis of variance. Statistically significant differences were seen in the sway area between conditions (p = 0.009), the CoP path length (p = 0.007), the peak medial–lateral CoP displacement (p = 0.004), and the average sway velocity (p = 0.007). All variables displayed similar trends whereby the control condition showed significantly lower values than both instability devices, with no differences between devices. This investigation provides supporting evidence that different instability devices may deliver similar changes to postural sway parameters compared to control conditions. The novel block instability device used in this investigation may be used similarly to the traditional foam pad in prevention and rehabilitation settings based on the absence of differences between the two devices. Full article
12 pages, 373 KiB  
Article
Progress in Ski Jumping Technology Based on Biomechanical Sport Research Methods
by Yuan Li, Lijuan Liu, Lili Xing, Jianzhong Chai and Dong Sun
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(6), 2281; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14062281 - 8 Mar 2024
Viewed by 624
Abstract
(1) Background: Previous studies have compared research into ski jumping in different motor processes, but there is a lack of comparative analysis of the biomechanical research methods used to investigate different ski jumping sports. (2) Content: Our study compared the advantages and disadvantages [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Previous studies have compared research into ski jumping in different motor processes, but there is a lack of comparative analysis of the biomechanical research methods used to investigate different ski jumping sports. (2) Content: Our study compared the advantages and disadvantages of six research methods and proposes future research directions. Motion video collection and analysis show that controlling angular momentum and achieving stable flight attitude in the take-off process are the most critical factors in ski jumping performance. Most research on force platforms focuses on dynamic performance at the time of take-off, but there are few training sites with an embedded force platform, and so, more empirical research is required. Wearable inertial measurement units, including gyroscopes and accelerometers, can be used to determine a series of forces, calculate the joint angle, and speculate the position of the centroid during motion. Surface EMG studies are primarily used to compare the activity characteristics of the lower limb muscles in the actual field of the jump, the exercise simulation, and the lack of complete training process data. Wind tunnel measurement can satisfy fluid mechanics simulation experiments and provide theoretical support for optimizing special ski jumping technology. Based on the theory of computational fluid dynamics, the optimal drag reduction posture data of ski jumpers can be derived using computer simulations. (3) Conclusions: Due to the wide range of ski jumping sports, the present research focused on the kinematics and dynamics of different movement stages, lacking the study of the complete exercise training process. The range of wearable inertial measurement and sensor equipment can cover the whole process of ski jumping, including kinematics and dynamics data, and is a feasible and reliable test method for monitoring ski jump training in natural environments. The simultaneous testing of surface electromyography, kinematics, and dynamics requires further exploration. (4) Future direction of development: Under computational fluid dynamics, wearable inertial measurement units and global navigation satellite systems (GNSSs), intelligent wind tunnel experimental training areas will become essential tools for ski jumping research. Full article
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14 pages, 3013 KiB  
Article
Bilateral Activity of Spine Extensors and Rotators during Asymmetric Lumbar Stabilization Exercises Executed in Prone, Quadruped, and Standing-Prone Positions
by Andrea Biscarini, Raffaele Losavio, Stefano Bartoli, Andrea Calandra, Cristina Vittoria Dieni, Samuele Contemori and Roberto Panichi
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(4), 1331; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14041331 - 6 Feb 2024
Viewed by 804
Abstract
(1) Background: Most daily activities and sport gestures involve asymmetric movement patterns of the upper and lower extremities, transferring asymmetric mechanical loadings to the spine. Therefore, asymmetric lumbar stabilization exercises are frequently prescribed in athletic programs and preventive/rehabilitation interventions. This study analyzed the [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Most daily activities and sport gestures involve asymmetric movement patterns of the upper and lower extremities, transferring asymmetric mechanical loadings to the spine. Therefore, asymmetric lumbar stabilization exercises are frequently prescribed in athletic programs and preventive/rehabilitation interventions. This study analyzed the bilateral activity of the thoracic erector spinae (ES), lumbar multifidus (MF), external oblique (EO), and internal oblique (IO) during asymmetric lumbar stabilization exercises executed in prone, quadruped, and standing-prone positions, rising an upper and/or lower limb in all possible combinations. A limited subset of these data has been previously published in earlier studies. (2) Methods: Surface EMG signals were bilaterally recorded from the selected muscles using wireless EMG sensors. (3) Results: ES, MF, and oblique muscles’ activity was significantly higher in prone, standing-prone, and quadruped positions, respectively, and was maximized by specific limb rise combinations (up to 69%, 64%, 34%, and 24% maximum-voluntary-isometric-contraction for ES, MF, EO, and IO). The bilateral difference in muscle activation was significantly higher in the quadruped position and revealed different strategies used to stabilize the body in response to the different exercise conditions. (4) Conclusions: The study results can provide deeper insights into the stabilizing function of the lumbar and oblique muscles and aid in designing optimal progressions for lumbar stabilization exercises. Full article
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16 pages, 5536 KiB  
Article
Changes in Human Motor Behavior during the Familiarization with a Soft Back-Support Occupational Exoskeleton
by Arthur Favennec, Julien Frère and Guillaume Mornieux
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(3), 1160; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14031160 - 30 Jan 2024
Viewed by 942
Abstract
Soft back exoskeletons are aimed at reducing musculoskeletal effort during manual handling tasks, contributing to the prevention of low back disorders like lumbar strains and sprains or intervertebral disk problems. However, large differences in their biomechanical effects are observed in the literature. A [...] Read more.
Soft back exoskeletons are aimed at reducing musculoskeletal effort during manual handling tasks, contributing to the prevention of low back disorders like lumbar strains and sprains or intervertebral disk problems. However, large differences in their biomechanical effects are observed in the literature. A possible explanation could be the lack or disparity of familiarization protocols with the exoskeleton. The aim of this experimental study was to characterize the familiarization process with a soft back-support occupational exoskeleton and determine the time needed to stabilize biomechanical variables. Participants carried out 6 familiarization sessions of 1 h to the CORFOR® soft back-exoskeleton. Joint kinematics, postural stability, exoskeleton pressure perception, muscle activity, and performance were measured at the beginning of the first session and at the end of each session during stoop and squat liftings. Results showed that back kinematics, performance, and exoskeleton pressure perception changed during the first sessions and stabilized after sessions 3 or 4, depending on the variable. The authors recommend a familiarization protocol for the CORFOR® soft back-exoskeleton of 4 sessions of 1 h duration. This recommendation could help CORFOR® users, for instance, in the automotive industry, the food retail industry, or the agriculture field. Full article
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13 pages, 1931 KiB  
Article
Pilot Study on the Biomechanical Quantification of Effective Offensive Range and Ball Speed Enhancement of the Diving Header in Soccer: Insights for Skill Advancement and Application Strategy
by Gongbing Shan, Yufeng Liu, Tom Gorges, Xiang Zhang and Kerstin Witte
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 946; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14020946 - 22 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1096
Abstract
This pioneering study presents an in-depth biomechanical examinations of soccer’s diving header, aiming to quantify its impact on ball speed enhancement (BSE) and effective offensive range (EOR). Despite the diving header’s widespread acclaim and historical significance, there remains a dearth of scientific scrutiny [...] Read more.
This pioneering study presents an in-depth biomechanical examinations of soccer’s diving header, aiming to quantify its impact on ball speed enhancement (BSE) and effective offensive range (EOR). Despite the diving header’s widespread acclaim and historical significance, there remains a dearth of scientific scrutiny into its biomechanical intricacies. Employing an innovative research design featuring a static hanging ball at varied offensive distances and heights, this study replicates diverse header scenarios. The results of 3D motion quantification have shown that a physically excellent player (identified through the maximal standing long jump test) could reach an EOR around 2.64 times his body height. Furthermore, this study unveils that proficient players could attain BSE surpassing 9 m/s, signifying the diving header’s heightened efficacy compared to traditional heading techniques, which could only result in 4.5 m/s. Correlation analyses unveil noteworthy relationships, highlighting the pivotal role of head speed at impact and the influence of minimizing speed drop and temporal disparities for amplified effectiveness. Considerations for optimizing diving header execution are introduced, emphasizing the necessity for targeted training programs. Despite acknowledged limitations inherent to its pilot nature, this exploration furnishes foundational knowledge to guide subsequent research and practical applications, providing valuable insights into soccer training and skill development through a biomechanical lens. Full article
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13 pages, 2072 KiB  
Article
Assessing the Impact of Sensor Orientation on Accelerometer-Derived Angles: A Systematic Analysis and Proposed Error Reduction
by Frederick A. McClintock, Andrew J. Callaway, Carol J. Clark and Jonathan M. Williams
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 842; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14020842 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 901
Abstract
Accelerometers have been widely used for motion analysis. The effect of initial sensor orientation (ISO) on the derived range of motion (ROM) is currently unexplored, limiting clarity in understanding error. This two-step study systematically explored the effect of ISO on the error of [...] Read more.
Accelerometers have been widely used for motion analysis. The effect of initial sensor orientation (ISO) on the derived range of motion (ROM) is currently unexplored, limiting clarity in understanding error. This two-step study systematically explored the effect of ISO on the error of accelerometer-derived range of motion (ROM) and the effect of a proposed correction algorithm. Accelerometer data were used to compute peak and through-range ROM across a range of ISO and movement angular velocities up to 148° s−1 compared to an optoelectronic gold-standard. Step 1 demonstrated that error increased linearly with increasing ISO offsets and angular velocity. Average peak ROM RMSE at an ISO of 20° tilt and twist was 5.9° for sagittal motion, and for an ISO of 50° pitch and 20° twist, it was 7.5° for frontal plane ROM. Through-range RMSE demonstrated errors of 7–8° for similar ISOs. Predictive modeling estimated a 3.2° and 3.7° increase in peak and through-range sagittal plane error for every 10° increase in tilt and twist ISO. Step 2 demonstrated error reduction utilizing mathematical correction for ISO, resulting in <1° mean peak error and <1.2° mean through-range ROM error regardless of ISO. Accelerometers can be used to measure cardinal plane joint angles, but initial orientation is a source of error unless corrected. Full article
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8 pages, 236 KiB  
Article
Effects of Different Load Carriage on Spatiotemporal Gait Parameters in Elite Intervention Police Officers
by Mario Kasović, Davor Rožac, Andro Štefan, Lovro Štefan and Stjepan Milković
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 278; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14010278 - 28 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 663
Abstract
Carrying heavy loads may present certain biomechanical changes in special populations. However, most of the existing research on whether or not different external loads impact gait biomechanics has been conducted in military personnel, while the same changes have been relatively unknown in other [...] Read more.
Carrying heavy loads may present certain biomechanical changes in special populations. However, most of the existing research on whether or not different external loads impact gait biomechanics has been conducted in military personnel, while the same changes have been relatively unknown in other populations, such as police officers. In order to maximize the importance of load ergonomics and design, it is necessary to establish both spatial and temporal gait changes under different load conditions in a variety of high-risk jobs, in order to detect which parameters are the most important for special interventions and policies. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine changes in spatial and temporal gait parameters under different loading conditions. Ninety-six intervention police officers were recruited and evaluated. Zebris FDM pedobarographic platform was used to assess spatial and temporal gait changes gradual increases in load carriage significantly increased cadence (p = 0.024, η2 = 0.029), stance-phase for left (p = 0.046, η2 = 0.024) and right foot (p = 0.019, η2 = 0.030), and load response for left (p = 0.044, η2 = 0.025) and right foot (p = 0.033, η2 = 0.027), while decreases in step time for left foot (p = 0.024, η2 = 0.029), and swing phase for left (p = 0.047, η2 = 0.024) and right foot (p = 0.047, η2 = 0.024) were observed. No significant changes in spatial gait parameters occurred when carrying heavier loads. In conclusion, increases in external loads lead to larger changes in temporal, but not in spatial foot characteristics during gait. Thus, temporal gait parameters may be more prone to changes when carrying heavy loads. Full article
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