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During walking, variability in how movement is coordinated between body segments from stride to stride facilitates adaptation to changing environmental or task constraints. Magnitude of this inter-segmental coordination variability is reduced in patient populations and may also decrease in response to muscle fatigue. Previously, stride-to-stride variability has been quantified with the Vector Coding (VC) method, however recent research introduced a new Ellipse Area Method (EAM) to avoid statistical artifacts associated with VC.

Research question

Determine changes in trunk-pelvis coordination variability during walking turns in response to fatiguing exercise and to compare coordination variability quantified with VC to the EAM method.


15 young adults (mean age: 23.7 (±3.2) years) performed 15 trials of a 90-degree walking turn before and after fatiguing paraspinal muscle exercise. Angular kinematics of the trunk and pelvis segments in the axial plane were quantified using three-dimensional motion capture. Stride to stride variability of axial coordination between the trunk and pelvis pre- and post-fatigue was calculated using both VC and EAM methods. Magnitudes of pre- and post-fatigue variability for VC and EAM were compared with paired t-tests and relationship between the magnitude of variability for the two methods was calculated using Pearson correlation coefficients.


Using both analytical approaches, trunk-pelvis coordination variability decreased significantly post-fatiguing exercise across the stride cycle and within the stance phase of the turn (p < 0.034 for all comparisons). Average magnitudes of variability calculated with VC and EAM were highly correlated. Time series cross correlations pre-post fatigue ranged from 0.81 to 0.98.


In healthy individuals, magnitude of trunk-pelvis stride-to-stride coordination variability is reduced following fatiguing exercise but the temporal distribution of variability across the stride cycle is maintained. This finding is robust to the method used to quantify coordination variability.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Gait & Posture. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Gait & Posture, volume 84, in 2020.

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