Recovery from sagittal-plane whole body angular momentum perturbations during walking

M. van Mierlo*, J. I. Ambrosius, M. Vlutters, E. H.F. van Asseldonk, H. van der Kooij

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Healthy individuals highly regulate their whole body angular momentum (WBAM) during walking. Since WBAM regulation is essential in maintaining balance, a better understanding is required on how healthy individuals recover from WBAM perturbations. We therefore studied how healthy individuals recover WBAM in the sagittal plane. WBAM can be regulated by adjusting the moment arm of the ground reaction force (GRF) vector with respect to the whole-body centre of mass (CoM). In principle this can be done by centre of pressure (CoP) modulation and/or adjustments of the GRF direction. Two simultaneous perturbations of the same magnitude were applied in opposite direction to the pelvis and upper body (0.34m apart) to perturb WBAM but not the whole body linear momentum (WBLM), while participants walked on a treadmill. The perturbations were given at toe off right, had a magnitude of 4, 8, 12 and 16% of the participant's body weight, and lasted for 150ms. A recovery of the WBAM was seen directly after the perturbations, induced by adapting the moment arm of the GRF with respect to the CoM. The hip joint of the stance leg played an important role in achieving the WBAM recovery. A change in the direction of the GRF vector and not a contributing CoP modulation, caused the change in moment arm. However, the change in GRF direction came from a change in the horizontal GRF, which also affects the WBLM. This suggest that regulating WBAM may take precedence over the WBLM in early recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111169
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Centre of pressure modulation
  • Gait
  • Ground reaction force vector
  • Human balance
  • Whole body angular momentum


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