Modulation of work and power by the human lower-limb joints with increasing steady-state locomotion speed

Anthony G. Schache, Nicholas A.T. Brown, Marcus G. Pandy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Citations (Scopus)


We investigated how the human lower-limb joints modulate work and power during walking and running on level ground. Experimental data were recorded from seven participants for a broad range of steadystate locomotion speeds (walking at 1.59±0.09 m s-1 to sprinting at 8.95±0.70 m s-1). We calculated hip, knee and ankle work and average power (i.e. over time), along with the relative contribution from each joint towards the total (sum of hip, knee and ankle) amount of work and average power produced by the lower limb. Irrespective of locomotion speed, ankle positive work was greatest during stance, whereas hip positive work was greatest during swing. Ankle positive work increased with faster locomotion until a running speed of 5.01±0.11 m s-1, where it plateaued at ∼1.3 J kg-1. In contrast, hip positive work during stance and swing, as well as knee negative work during swing, all increased when running speed progressed beyond 5.01±0.11 m s-1. When switching from walking to running at the same speed (∼2.0 m s-1), the ankle's contribution to the average power generated (and positive work done) by the lower limb during stance significantly increased from 52.7±10.4% to 65.3±7.5% (P=0.001), whereas the hip's contribution significantly decreased from 23.0±9.7% to 5.5±4.6% (P=0.004).With faster running, the hip's contribution to the average power generated (and positive work done) by the lower limb significantly increased during stance (P<0.001) and swing (P=0.003). Our results suggest that changing locomotion mode and faster steady-state running speeds are not simply achieved via proportional increases in work and average power at the lower-limb joints.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2472-2481
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


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