Adherence and Postural Control: A Biomechanical Analysis of Transient Push Efforts

  • Simon Bouisset
  • Serge Le Bozec
  • Christian Ribreau


This chapter focuses on the question of the interface between the body and its physical environment, namely adherence and friction. First, a short survey of literature is presented and some basic statements on adherence reviewed. They help define the adherence constraints associated with different motor tasks. Then, a new paradigm is presented, the transient push paradigm, which offers manifold facilities. In particular, it makes it possible: i) to exert transient external force in the absence of external movement; ii) to divide the body into a focal and a postural chain; and iii) to manipulate the surface contacts between the body and its supports, without perturbing body balance.

The chapter is documented with recent results on transient isometric pushes performed under two conditions of surface contact. A biomechanical model is presented. Based on an experimental recording of the main terms of the model, it is concluded that transient muscular effort induces dynamics of the postural chain. These observations support the view that there is a postural counter-perturbation, which is associated with motor acts. Changing ischio-femoral contact has been proven to modify postural chain mobility, which appears to be a key factor of performance.

The influence of adherence was considered from the adherence ratio, that is, μ = RT/RN (with μ being the adherence ratio, RT and RN, the instantaneous tangential and normal reactions at the contact surface). It was found to evolve, during the course of the effort, up to a certain value, which is close to the coefficient of friction to within a security margin, at the seat contact surface, at least. Lastly, the adherence effects on motor programming are highlighted, and the possibility of considering the centre of pressure as the postural control variable is discussed. It is proposed that the instantaneous adherence ratio, with reference to the coefficient of friction, might be one of the rules for controlling muscle activation to accomplish voluntary efforts, when there is the risk of loosing balance.


Postural dynamics ramp push efforts adherence motor control 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon Bouisset
    • 1
  • Serge Le Bozec
    • 1
    • 2
  • Christian Ribreau
    • 3
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Physiologie du MouvementUniversité Paris-SudOrsayFrance
  2. 2.U731 Inserm / UPMCFrance
  3. 3.Laboratoire de Biomécanique et Biomatériaux Ostéo-ArticulairesUniversité Paris 12 — Val de MarneCreteilFrance

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