Muscles do more positive than negative work in human locomotion
DeVita, Paul; Helseth, Joseph; Hortobágyi, Tibor
Muscle work during level walking and ascent and descent ramp and stairway walking was assessed in order to explore the proposition that muscles perform more positive than negative work during these locomotion tasks. Thirty four healthy human adults were tested while maintaining a constant average walking velocity in the five gait conditions. Ground reaction force and sagittal plane kinematic data were obtained during the stance phases of these gaits and used in inverse dynamic analyses to calculate joint torques and powers at the hip, knee and ankle. Muscle work was derived as the area under the joint power vs time curves and was partitioned into positive, negative and net components. Dependent t-tests were used to compare positive and negative work in level walking and net joint work between ascent and descent gaits on the ramp and stairs (P<0.010). Total negative and positive work in level walking was -34 J and 50 J, respectively, with the difference in magnitude being statistically significant (P<0.001). Level walking was therefore performed with 16 J of net positive muscle work per step. The magnitude of the net work in ramp ascent was 25% greater than the magnitude of net work in ramp descent (89 vs -71 J m-1, P<0.010). Similarly, the magnitude of the net work in stair ascent was 43% greater than the magnitude of net work in stair descent (107 vs -75 J step-1, P<0.000). We identified three potential causes for the reduced negative vs positive work in these locomotion tasks: (1) the larger magnitude of the accelerations induced by the larger ground reaction forces in descending compared to ascending gaits elicited greater energy dissipation in non-muscular tissues, (2) the ground reaction force vector was directed closer to the joint centers in ramp and stair descent compared to ascent, which reduced the load on the muscular tissues and their energy dissipating response, and (3) despite the need to produce negative muscle work in descending gaits, both ramp and stair descent also had positive muscle work to propel the lower extremity upward and forward into the swing phase movement trajectory. We used these data to formulate two novel hypotheses about human locomotion. First, level walking requires muscles to generate a net positive amount of work per gait cycle to overcome energy losses by other tissues. Second, skeletal muscles generate more mechanical energy in gait tasks that raise the center of mass compared to the mechanical energy they dissipate in gait tasks that lower the center of mass, despite equivalent changes in total mechanical energy. Originally Published Journal of Experimental Biology October, 2008 210(19).
DeVita, Paul, & Helseth, Joseph, & Hortobágyi, Tibor. (October 2007). Muscles do more positive than negative work in human locomotion. Journal of Experimental Biology, 210(19), 3361- 3373. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10342/2999
DeVita, Paul, and Helseth, Joseph, and Hortobágyi, Tibor. "Muscles do more positive than negative work in human locomotion". Journal of Experimental Biology. 210:19. (3361-3373), October 2007. April 22, 2019. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/2999.
DeVita, Paul and Helseth, Joseph and Hortobágyi, Tibor, "Muscles do more positive than negative work in human locomotion," Journal of Experimental Biology 210, no. 19 (October 2007), http://hdl.handle.net/10342/2999 (accessed April 22, 2019).
DeVita, Paul, Helseth, Joseph, Hortobágyi, Tibor. Muscles do more positive than negative work in human locomotion. Journal of Experimental Biology. October 2007; 210(19): 3361-3373. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/2999. Accessed April 22, 2019.
East Carolina University