EMG profiles during normal human walking: stride-to-stride and inter-subject variability

Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol. 1987 Nov;67(5):402-11. doi: 10.1016/0013-4694(87)90003-4.


The EMG patterns for 16 muscles involved in human walking are reported along with stride-to-stride and inter-subject variability measures. These profiles and measures were developed for basic researchers and clinical investigators as a baseline reference of motor patterns and for use in the diagnosis of gait pathologies. Evident from a comparison of these patterns were some fundamental aspects of the neuromuscular control and the mechanical demands of walking. These comparisons can be summarized as follows: (1) The distal support muscles (soleus, tibialis anterior, gastrocnemii) are the most active muscles, the more proximal muscles are least active. (2) The least variable EMG patterns, as quantified by the normalized inter-subject variability measures, are seen in the most distal single joint muscles, the most variable are the more proximal muscles. The EMGs of the biarticulate muscles, both proximal and distal, exhibit higher variability than the EMGs of the single joint muscles. (3) The detailed patterns and levels of EMG activity demonstrate the different mechanical tasks of each muscle over the gait cycle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electromyography*
  • Humans
  • Locomotion*
  • Reference Values