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Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 234, Issue 4, pp 1119–1132 | Cite as

Trunk muscles contribute as functional groups to directionality of reaching during stance

  • Alexander Stamenkovic
  • Paul J. Stapley
Research Article

Abstract

Muscle activity preceding the onset of voluntary movement has been shown to reduce centre of mass (CoM) displacement and stabilise the body during self-induced ‘perturbations’. However, based on recent findings in the lower limb, where preparatory muscle activity creates the dynamics necessary for the initiation of movement, this study sought to investigate whether trunk musculature acted consistently to minimise the displacement of the CoM, or in contrast, contribute to the movement. While standing, nine healthy participants made single-step (point-to-point) reaching movements to 13 visual targets throughout a 180° range (target interval = 15°). Full-body kinematics and electromyographic activity from ‘focal’ arm and ‘postural’ trunk muscles were analysed for a preparatory phase of 250-ms preceding movement onset (termed pPA). Akin to lower limb findings, direction-specific patterns of anticipatory trunk muscle activity accompanied the onset of rotational kinematics and CoM acceleration in the direction of the desired target. When arranged in terms of peak activation, we found functionally relevant groupings aligned to either ipsi-, central or contra-lateral reaching directions. Contrary to traditional approaches, which focus on CoM stabilisation, this spatial recruitment was in favour of assisting initiation of movement. Such activity suggests that the central nervous system may rely on synergic patterns of muscle activation within an undistinguishable and shared focal/postural motor command for functional voluntary movements.

Keywords

Reaching Standing Trunk muscle Postural adjustments 

Abbreviations

sEMG

Surface electromyography

APAs

Anticipatory postural adjustments

CoM

Centre of mass

CoP

Centre of pressure

CNS

Central nervous system

ADelr

Right anterior deltoid muscle

PDelr

Right posterior deltoid muscle

Latr

Right latissimus dorsi muscle

Latl

Left latissimus dorsi muscle

GMaxr

Right gluteus maximus muscle

GMaxl

Left gluteus maximus muscle

GRF

Ground reaction forces

LumESr

Right lumbar erector spinae muscle

LumESl

Left lumbar erector spinae muscle

Multr

Right lumbar multifidus muscle

Multl

Left lumbar multifidus muscle

EOr

Right external oblique muscle

EOl

Left external oblique muscle

RAr

Right rectus abdominis muscle

RAl

Left rectus abdominis muscle

IOTrAr

Right (combined) internal oblique/transversus abdominis muscle

IOTrAl

Left (combined) internal oblique/transversus abdominis muscle

pPAs

Preparatory postural adjustments

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank Mrs. Sophie Bos, Mr. Joel Walsh, and Mr. Sergio Jimenez for their technical assistance during data collection and Ms. Jessica Fay for the anatomical illustrations.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors state that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neural Control of Movement Laboratory, Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI), Gerard Sutton Building, School of Medicine, Faculty of Science, Medicine and HealthUniversity of WollongongWollongongAustralia

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