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Title: Anticipatory weight shift between arms when reaching from a crouched posture
Reaching movements performed from a crouched body posture require a shift of body weight from both arms to one arm. This situation has remained unexamined despite the analogous load requirements during step initiation and the many studies of reaching from a seated or standing posture. To determine whether the body weight shift involves anticipatory or exclusively reactive control, we obtained force plate records, hand kinematics, and arm muscle activity from 11 healthy right-handed participants. They performed reaching movements with their left and right arm in two speed contexts, “comfortable” and “as fast as possible,” and two postural contexts, a less stable knees-together posture and a more stable knees-apart posture. Weight-shifts involved anticipatory postural actions (APAs) by the reaching and stance arms that were opposing in the vertical axis and aligned in the side-to-side axis similar to APAs by the legs for step initiation. Weight-shift APAs were correlated in time and magnitude, present in both speed contexts, more vigorous with the knees placed together, and similar when reaching with the dominant and nondominant arm. The initial weight-shift was preceded by bursts of muscle activity in the shoulder and elbow extensors (posterior deltoid and triceps lateral) of the reach arm and shoulder more » flexor (pectoralis major) of the stance arm, which indicates their causal role; leg muscles may have indirectly contributed but were not recorded. The strong functional similarity of weight-shift APAs during crouched reaching to human stepping and cat reaching suggests that they are a core feature of posture-movement coordination. NEW & NOTEWORTHY This work demonstrates that reaching from a crouched posture is preceded by bimanual anticipatory postural adjustments (APAs) that shift the body weight to the stance limb. Weight-shift APAs are more robust in an unstable body posture (knees together) and involve the shoulder and elbow extensors of the reach arm and shoulder flexor of the stance arm. This pattern mirrors the forelimb coordination of cats reaching and humans initiating a step. « less
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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Journal of Neurophysiology
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
1361 to 1374
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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