Biomechanical motor patterns in normal walking

J Mot Behav. 1983 Dec;15(4):302-30. doi: 10.1080/00222895.1983.10735302.


Motor patterns in normal human gait are evident in several biomechanical and EMG analyses over the stride period. Some of these patterns are invariant over the stride period with changes of cadence, whole others are closely correlated with speed changes. The findings for slow, natural, and fast walking are summarized: 1. Joint angle patterns over the stride period are quite invariant, and do not change with cadence; 2. Moment of force patterns at the ankle are least variable and quite consistent at all speeds; 3. A recently defined support moment is quite consistent at all speeds. 4. Moments at the knee and hip are highly variable at all cadences but decrease their variability as cadence increases; 5. Mechanical power patterns at all joints show consistent timing over the stride period; 6. EMG profiles of 5 muscles show consistent timing over the stride, but the amplitude increases as walking speed increases. Arguments are presented to support the concept that walking speed is largely controlled by gain and that the timing of the motor patterns, which is extremely tightly synchronized with the anatomical position, is under major afferent control.