Electromyogram (EMG) profiles strongly depend on walking speed and, in pathological gait, patients do not usually walk at normal speeds. EMG data was collected from 14 muscles in two groups of healthy young subjects who walked at five different speeds ranging from 0.75 to 1.75 ms(-1). We found that average EMG profiles varied in a predictable way with speed. The average EMG profile for each muscle at any speed could be estimated in a simple way from two functions, one constant and one proportionally increasing with walking speed. By taking into account the similarity among profiles within functional groups, the number of basic functions could be reduced further. Any average EMG profile among the 14 leg muscles studied at all speeds in the measured range could be predicted from six constant and ten speed-dependent basic patterns. These results can be interpreted in terms of a central pattern generator for human walking.
Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science B.V.