chapter  9
12 Pages

Biomechanical aspects of motor control in human landing

ByDario G. Liebermann

Free falls trigger protective landing actions that concern diverse areas of research because of the variety of responses elicited and the mechanisms involved. From a functional vantage point, the ability to land softly is required in many daily locomotor tasks of animals and humans, e.g., after sudden unexpected falls (Greenwood and Hopkins, 1976a, b), while stepping downstairs (Greenwood and Hopkins, 1980), and when humans (Liebermann and Hoffman, 2006), cats (McKinley, Smith and Gregor, 1983) or monkeys (Dyhre-Poulsen and Laursen, 1984) jump down. Research interest has also focused on specific applications such as parachute landings (Hoffman, Liebermann and Gusis, 1997), landings after releasing a horizontal bar (Liebermann and Goodman, 2007), landings onto a gymnastics mat (Arampatzis, Morey-Klapsing and Brüggemann, 2003) as well as in physical activities such as dancing (Cluss et al., 2006), whereas the inherent practical goal is to improve the quality of the landing performance in order to prevent injuries.