Spontaneous transitions in the coordination of a whole body task

R. Burgess-Limerick, J. Shemmell, B.K. Barry, Richard Carson, B. Abernethy

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20 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes an example of spontaneous transitions between qualitatively different coordination patterns during a cyclic lifting and lowering task. Eleven participants performed 12 trials of repetitive lifting and lowering in a ramp protocol in which the height of the lower shelf was raised or lowered I cm per cycle between 10 and 50 cm. Two distinct patterns of coordination were evident: a squat technique in which moderate range of hip, knee and ankle movement was utilised and ankle plantar-flexion occurred simultaneously with knee and hip extension; and a stoop technique in which the range of knee movement was reduced and knee and hip extension was accompanied by simultaneous ankle dorsi-flexion. Abrupt transitions from stoop to squat techniques were observed during descending trials, and from squat to stoop during ascending trials. Indications of hysteresis was observed in that transitions were more frequently observed during descending trials, and the average shelf height at the transition was 5 cm higher during ascending trials. The transitions may be a consequence of a trade-off between the biomechanical advantages of each technique and the influence of the lift height on this trade-off. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-562
Number of pages14
JournalHuman Movement Science
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics


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