Trunk movements in human locomotion

Acta Physiol Scand. 1984 May;121(1):9-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-1716.1984.tb10452.x.


Trunk movements in the frontal and sagittal planes were studied in 10 healthy males (18-35 yrs) during normal walking (1.0-2.5 m/s) and running (2.0-6.0 m/s) on a treadmill. Movements were recorded with a Selspot optoelectronic system. Directions, amplitudes and phase relationships to the stride cycle (defined by the leg movements) were analyzed for both linear and angular displacements. During one stride cycle the trunk displayed two oscillations in the vertical (mean net amplitude 2.5-9.5 cm) and horizontal, forward-backward directions (mean net amplitude 0.5-3 cm) and one oscillation in the lateral, side to side direction (mean net amplitude 2-6 cm). The magnitude and timing of the various oscillations varied in a different way with speed and mode of progression. Differences in amplitudes and timing of the movements at separate levels along the spine gave rise to angular oscillations with a similar periodicity as the linear displacements in both planes studied. The net angular trunk tilting in the frontal plane increased with speed from 3-10 degrees. The net forward-backward trunk inclination showed a small increase with speed up to 5 degrees in fast running. The mean forward inclination of the trunk increased from 6 degrees to about 13 degrees with speed. Peak inclination to one side occurred during the support phase of the leg on the same side. Peak forward inclination was reached at the initiation of the support phase in walking, whereas in running the peak inclination was in the opposite direction at this point. The adaptations of trunk movements to speed and mode of progression could be related to changing mechanical conditions and different demands on equilibrium control due to e.g. changes in support phase duration and leg movements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Gait
  • Humans
  • Locomotion*
  • Male
  • Movement
  • Postural Balance*
  • Running
  • Spine / physiology