Hogeschool van Amsterdam

Urban Vitality

Coördination of the leg muscles in backlift and leglift

Abstract Net joint moments are often used to quantify the loading of structures (e.g. the intervertebral disc at L5S1) during lifting. This quantification method is also used to evaluate the loading of the knee, for instance, to determine the effect of backlifting as opposed to leglifting. However, the true loading of the joint as derived from net joint moments can be obscured by a possible co-contraction of antagonists. To unravel the mechanisms that determine the net joint moments in the knee, the leglift was compared to the backlift.

Although a completely different net knee moment curve was found when comparing the two lifting techniques, it appeared to be closely related to the ground reaction force vector and its orientation with respect to the joint centre of rotation (R > 0.995). This close relation was established by co-contraction of both flexors and extensors of the knee. Furthermore, a close relation appeared to exist between the joint moment difference between hip and knee and the activity difference between rectus femoris muscle and hamstring (R = 0.72 and 0.83 in leglift and backlift, respectively).

The knee-ankle joint moment difference and the activity of the gastrocnemius showed a close relation as well (R = -0.89 and 0.96 in leglift and backlift, respectively). These relations can be interpreted as a mechanism to distribute net moments across joints. It is concluded that during lifting tasks the intermuscular coordination is aimed at coupling of joint moments, such that the ground reaction force points in a direction that provides balance during the movement. The use of net joint moments as direct indicators for joint loading (e.g. knee) seems, therefore, questionable.

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Toussaint, H. M., Baar, C. E. v., Langen, P. P. v., Looze, M. P. d., & Dieën, J. H. v. 'Co-ordination of the leg muscles in backlift and leglift'. In: Journal of Biomechanics, 25, 1279-1289, 1992.

Gepubliceerd door  Kenniscentrum Bewegen, Sport en Voeding 1 september 1992


sep 1992


Lector Huub Toussaint