Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
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©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2005) 04, 446 - 454

Research article
Preferred and Energetically Optimal Transition Speeds During Backward Human Locomotion
Alan Hreljac , Rodney Imamura, Rafael F. Escamilla, Jeffrey Casebolt, Mitell Sison
Author Information
Department of Kinesiology and Health Science, California State University, Sacramento, CA, USA

Alan Hreljac
✉ California State University, Department of Kinesiology and Health Science, 6000 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95819-6073, USA
Email: ahreljac@csus.edu
Publish Date
Received: 03-05-2005
Accepted: 12-09-2005
Published (online): 01-12-2005
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ABSTRACT

Some aspects of backward locomotion are similar to forward locomotion, while other aspects are not related to their forward counterpart. The backward preferred transition speed (BPTS) has never been directly compared to the energetically optimal transition speed (EOTS), nor has it been compared to the preferred transition speed (PTS) during forward locomotion. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the BPTS occurs at the EOTS, and to examine the relationship between the backward and forward preferred gait transition speeds. The preferred backward and forward transition speeds of 12 healthy, young subjects (7 males, 5 females) were determined after subjects were familiarized with forward and backward treadmill locomotion. On a subsequent day, subjects walked backward at speeds of 70, 80, 90, 100, and 110% of the BPTS and ran backward at speeds of 60, 75, 90, 100, and 120% of the BPTS while VO2 and RPE data were collected. After subtracting standing VO2, exercise VO2 was normalized to body mass and speed. For each subject, energy-speed curves for walking and running were fit to the normalized data points. The intersection of these curves was defined as the EOTS which was compared to the BPTS using a paired t-test (p < 0.05). RPE and VO2 at the BPTS were also compared between walking and running conditions, and the correlation between BPTS and PTS was calculated. The EOTS (1.85 ± 0.09 m·s-1) was significantly greater than the BPTS (1.63 ± 0.11 m·s-1). Even though RPE was equal for walking and running at the BPTS, VO2 was significantly greater when running. There was a strong correlation (r = 0.82) between the BPTS and the PTS. Similar to forward locomotion, the determinants of the BPTS must include factors other than metabolic energy. The gait transition during backward locomotion exhibits several similarities to its forward counterpart.

Key words: Running, walking, gait transition, preferred transition speed


           Key Points
  • The backward preferred transition speed (1.63 ± 0.11 m·s) was significantly less than the energetically optimal transition speed (1.85 ± 0.09 m·s), similar to what is observed during forward locomotion.
  • RPE was equal for walking and running at the backward preferred transition speed.
  • There was a strong correlation (r = 0.82) between the backward and forward preferred transition speeds.
  • Similar to forward locomotion, the determinants of the BPTS must include factors other than metabolic energy.
 
 
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