Adaptation in Trunk and Leg Movements and Motor Patterns to Speed, Mode and Direction of Progression in Man

  • Alf Thorstensson
Part of the Wenner-Gren Center International Symposium Series book series (WGS)


The basic locomotor synergy for human locomotion produces alternating movements of the legs and arms and concomitant associated movements of the trunk to propel the body forwards and to keep balance. Under unconstrained conditions and at a constant comfortable speed, these movements are stereotyped, although complex, and highly reproducible (cf. Grillner, 1981; Pedotti, 1977). However, human locomotion possesses a high degree of versatility. Characteristic adaptations occur to changes in speed and direction of motion, to differences in slope and texture of the surface, etc. (see eg. Herman et al, 1976; Brandell, 1977; Inman et al, 1981; Winter, 1983) Adequate compensations are also made when sudden perturbations are presented during normal gait. Thus, reflex-induced changes have been shown to be gated in relation to the stride cycle (Belanger and Patla, 1984; cf Forssberg, 1979).


Stride Length Trunk Movement Stride Frequency Muscle Activity Pattern Human Locomotion 
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© The Wenner-Gren Center 1986

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  • Alf Thorstensson

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