What triggers the continuous muscle activity during upright standing?

Kei Masani, Dimitry G. Sayenko, Albert H. Vette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The ankle extensors play a dominant role in controlling the equilibrium during bipedal quiet standing. Their primary role is to resist the gravity toppling torque that pulls the body forward. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the continuous muscle activity of the anti-gravity muscles during standing is triggered by the joint torque requirement for opposing the gravity toppling torque, rather than by the vertical load on the lower limbs. Healthy adults subjects stood on a force plate. The ankle torque, ankle angle, and electromyograms from the right lower leg muscles were measured. A ground-fixed support device was used to support the subject at his/her knees, without changing the posture from the free standing one. During the supported condition, which eliminates the ankle torque requirement while maintaining both the vertical load on the lower limbs and the natural upright standing posture, the plantarflexor activity was attenuated to the resting level. Also, this attenuated plantarflexor activity was found only in one side when the ipsilateral leg was supported. Our results suggest that the vertical load on the lower limb is not determinant for inducing the continuous muscle activity in the anti-gravity muscles, but that it depends on the required joint torque to oppose the gravity toppling torque.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-77
Number of pages6
JournalGait and Posture
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • Cutaneous sensation
  • Joint torque
  • Posture
  • Sensory system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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