Introduction Coordination of multiple degrees of freedom in the performance of dynamic and complex motor tasks presents a challenging neuromuscular control problem. Experiments have inferred that humans exhibit self-organized, preferred coordination patterns, which emerge due to actor and task constraints on performance. The purpose of this study was to determine if the set of effective coordination strategies that exist for a task centers on a small number of robust, invariant patterns of behavior. Methods Kinetic movement patterns computed from a cohort of 780 primarily female adolescent athletes performing a drop vertical jump (DVJ) task were analyzed to discover distinct groups into which individuals could be classified based on the similarity of movement coordination solutions. Results Clustering of reduced-dimension joint moment of force time series revealed three very distinct, precisely delineated movement profiles that persisted across trials, and which exhibited different functional performance outcomes, despite no other apparent group differences. The same analysis was also performed on a different task-a single-leg drop landing-which also produced distinct movement profiles; however, the three DVJ profiles did not translate to this task as group assignment was inconsistent between these two tasks. Conclusion The task demands of the DVJ and single-leg drop-successful landing, reversal of downward momentum, and, in the case of the DVJ, vertical propulsion toward a maximally positioned target-constrain movement performance such that only a few successful outcomes emerge. Discovery of the observed strategies in the context of associated task constraints may help our understanding of how injury risk movement patterns emerge during specific tasks, as well as how the natural dynamics of the system may be exploited to improve these patterns.
- DYNAMICAL SYSTEMS
- INJURY RISK
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation