A Mathematical Model of Human Dynamic Locomotion: The Development and Application of the Model

  • C. Larkins
  • M. M. Vieten
Keywords: dynamic locomotion, parameters, mathematical model


Human walking is characterized by a progression of steps such that contact with the ground is never broken. More dynamic activities such as running, hopping, and jumping are characterized by a cycle that includes a phase of support as well as a ballistic flight phase. The objective of individuals engaged in dynamic locomotor activities is to produce and control desired movements in order to achieve a determined performance goal. The problem confronted by teachers, coaches, and trainers is to devise a systematic procedure based on scientific principles which can be used to evaluate motor skills. One solution to this problem is the traditional trial and error approach used by most coaches. In this study the authors have developed a systematic analytical approach using mathematical modelling as the tool. This tool permits the coach to systematically vary the input parameters thus moving toward an ideal technique for that individual without continually stressing the athlete. More specifically, the purposes of this presentation are to: 1) highlight the coaching demands that a realistic mathematical model of dynamic locomotion must meet and 2) show the development of a model that meets all features necessary to calculate the flight distance correctly given various input parameters. Therefore, the presentation will focus on: 1) features necessary for a realistic model of dynamic locomotion, which are anatomy, posture, dynamic variables, control processes, and stochastic, 2) the advantages and disadvantages of existing models, 3) the steps taken in developing our model, and 4) how our model can be used as a tool for coaches to evaluate and design individual performance in a heuristic manner.