Neuromechanics of muscle synergies for posture and movement

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2007 Dec;17(6):622-8. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2008.01.002. Epub 2008 Mar 4.


Recent research suggests that the nervous system controls muscles by activating flexible combinations of muscle synergies to produce a wide repertoire of movements. Muscle synergies are like building blocks, defining characteristic patterns of activation across multiple muscles that may be unique to each individual, but perform similar functions. The identification of muscle synergies has strong implications for the organization and structure of the nervous system, providing a mechanism by which task-level motor intentions are translated into detailed, low-level muscle activation patterns. Understanding the complex interplay between neural circuits and biomechanics that give rise to muscle synergies will be crucial to advancing our understanding of neural control mechanisms for movement.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Posture / physiology*