Quantifying the hip-ankle synergy in short-term maximal cycling

Louise Burnie*, Paul Barratt, Keith Davids, Paul Worsfold, Jon Wheat

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Simulation studies have demonstrated that the hip and ankle joints form a task-specific synergy during the downstroke in maximal cycling to enable the power produced by the hip extensor muscles to be transferred to the crank. The existence of the hip-ankle synergy has not been investigated experimentally. Therefore, we sought to apply a modified vector coding technique to quantify the strength of the hip-ankle moment synergy in the downstroke during short-term maximal cycling at a pedalling rate of 135 rpm. Twelve track sprint cyclists performed 3 × 4 s seated sprints at 135 rpm, interspersed with 2 × 4 s seated sprints at 60 rpm on an isokinetic ergometer. Data from the 60 rpm sprints were not analysed in this study. Joint moments were calculated via inverse dynamics, using pedal forces and limb kinematics. The hip-ankle moment synergy was quantified using a modified vector coding method. Results showed, for 28.8% of the downstroke the hip and ankle moments were in-phase, demonstrating the hip and ankle joints tend to work in synergy in the downstroke, providing some support findings from simulation studies of cycling. At a pedalling rate of 135 rpm the hip-phase was most frequent (42.5%) significantly differing from the in- (P = 0.044), anti- (P < 0.001), and ankle-phases (P = 0.004), demonstrating hip-dominant action. We believe this method shows promise to answer research questions on the relative strength of the hip-ankle synergy between different cycling conditions (e.g., power output and pedalling rates).

Original languageEnglish
Article number111268
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Volume142
Early online date24 Aug 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2022

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