Scaling of Joint Motion and Muscle Activation for 3-Dimensional Control of Reach Extent

J Mot Behav. 2022;54(2):222-236. doi: 10.1080/00222895.2021.1941737. Epub 2021 Jul 12.


This study investigated the scaling of upper arm kinematics, joint motion, and muscle activation for three-dimensional (3D) reaches to targets of increasing distance. Fifteen participants completed 108 total reaches to targets placed 7, 14, and 21 cm across midline. Peak velocity, acceleration, and time to peak velocity scaled to both target and movement distance. Shoulder and elbow excursion scaled to target distance and were highly coordinated. Anterior deltoid activation scaled to both target and movement distance in the early and late phases of reach control. Biceps and triceps activation scaled to movement distance primarily in the late phase. Scaling of these outcome variables provides a model for understanding the control of reach distance in a 3D environment.

Keywords: feedback; feedforward; joint coordination; motor control; reaching.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arm* / physiology
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Elbow Joint*
  • Humans
  • Movement / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology

Grants and funding