Role of lateral muscles and body orientation in feedforward postural control

Exp Brain Res. 2008 Feb;184(4):547-59. doi: 10.1007/s00221-007-1123-9. Epub 2007 Oct 2.


The study investigates the role of lateral muscles and body orientation in anticipatory postural adjustments (APAs). Subjects stood in front of an aluminum pendulum and were required to stop it with their right or left hand. An experimenter released the pendulum inducing similar body perturbations in all experimental series. The perturbation directions were manipulated by having the subjects standing on the force platform with different body orientations in relation to the pendulum movements. Consequently, perturbations were induced in sagittal, oblique, and frontal planes. Ground reaction forces and bilateral EMG activity of dorsal, ventral, and lateral trunk and leg muscles were recorded and quantified within the time intervals typical of APAs. Anticipatory postural adjustments were seen in all experimental conditions; their magnitudes depended on the body orientation in relation to the direction of perturbation. When the perturbation was produced in the lateral and oblique planes, APAs in the gluteus medius muscles were greater on the side opposite to the side of perturbation. Conversely, simultaneous anticipatory activation of the external obliques, rectus abdominis, and erector spinae muscles was observed on the side of perturbation when it was induced in the lateral plane. The results of the present study provide additional information on the directional specificity of anticipatory activation of ventral and dorsal muscles. The findings provide new data on the role of lateral muscles in feedforward postural control and stress the importance of taking into consideration their role in the control of upright posture.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electromyography
  • Feedback
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kinesthesis / physiology*
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Orientation / physiology*
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*