Muscle synergies are defined as coordinated recruitment of groups of muscles with specific activation balances and time profiles aimed at generating task-specific motor commands. While muscle synergies in postural control have been investigated primarily in reactive balance conditions, the neuromechanical contribution of muscle synergies during voluntary control of upright standing is still unclear. In this study, muscle synergies were investigated during the generation of isometric force at the trunk during the maintenance of standing posture. Participants were asked to maintain the steady-state upright standing posture while pulling forces of different magnitudes were applied at the level at the waist in eight horizontal directions. Muscle synergies were extracted by nonnegative matrix factorization from sixteen lower limb and trunk muscles. An average of 5-6 muscle synergies were sufficient to account for a wide variety of EMG waveforms associated with changes in the magnitude and direction of pulling forces. A cluster analysis partitioned the muscle synergies of the participants into a large group of clusters according to their similarity, indicating the use of a subjective combination of muscles to generate a multidirectional force vector in standing. Furthermore, we found a participant-specific distribution in the values of cosine directional tuning parameters of synergy amplitude coefficients, suggesting the existence of individual neuromechanical strategies to stabilize the whole-body posture. Our findings provide a starting point for the development of novel diagnostic tools to assess muscle coordination in postural control and lay the foundation for potential applications of muscle synergies in rehabilitation.

Muscle synergies for multidirectional isometric force generation during maintenance of upright standing posture

Monte, Andrea;Benamati, Anna;Bertucco, Matteo
2024-01-01

Abstract

Muscle synergies are defined as coordinated recruitment of groups of muscles with specific activation balances and time profiles aimed at generating task-specific motor commands. While muscle synergies in postural control have been investigated primarily in reactive balance conditions, the neuromechanical contribution of muscle synergies during voluntary control of upright standing is still unclear. In this study, muscle synergies were investigated during the generation of isometric force at the trunk during the maintenance of standing posture. Participants were asked to maintain the steady-state upright standing posture while pulling forces of different magnitudes were applied at the level at the waist in eight horizontal directions. Muscle synergies were extracted by nonnegative matrix factorization from sixteen lower limb and trunk muscles. An average of 5-6 muscle synergies were sufficient to account for a wide variety of EMG waveforms associated with changes in the magnitude and direction of pulling forces. A cluster analysis partitioned the muscle synergies of the participants into a large group of clusters according to their similarity, indicating the use of a subjective combination of muscles to generate a multidirectional force vector in standing. Furthermore, we found a participant-specific distribution in the values of cosine directional tuning parameters of synergy amplitude coefficients, suggesting the existence of individual neuromechanical strategies to stabilize the whole-body posture. Our findings provide a starting point for the development of novel diagnostic tools to assess muscle coordination in postural control and lay the foundation for potential applications of muscle synergies in rehabilitation.
2024
EMG
Muscle synergies
Non-negative matrix factorization
Postural control
Upright standing
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1129029
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