Stochastic modelling of muscle recruitment during activity

Saulo Martelli, Calvetti Daniela, Erkki Somersalo, Marco Viceconti

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    39 Citations (Scopus)


    Muscle forces can be selected from a space of muscle recruitment strategies that produce stable motion and variable muscle and joint forces. However, current optimization methods provide only a single muscle recruitment strategy. We modelled the spectrum of muscle recruitment strategies while walking. The equilibrium equations at the joints, muscle constraints, static optimization solutions and 15-channel electromyography (EMG) recordings for seven walking cycles were taken from earlier studies. The spectrum of muscle forces was calculated using Bayesian statistics and Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods, whereas EMG-driven muscle forces were calculated using EMG-driven modelling. We calculated the differences between the spectrum and EMG-driven muscle force for 1-15 input EMGs, and we identified the muscle strategy that best matched the recorded EMG pattern. The best-fit strategy, static optimization solution and EMG-driven force data were compared using correlation analysis. Possible and plausible muscle forces were defined as within physiological boundaries and within EMG boundaries. Possible muscle and joint forces were calculated by constraining the muscle forces between zero and the peak muscle force. Plausible muscle forces were constrained within six selected EMG boundaries. The spectrum to EMG-driven force difference increased from 40 to 108 N for 1-15 EMG inputs. The best-fit muscle strategy better described the EMG-driven pattern (R2¼ 0.94; RMSE ¼ 19 N) than the static optimization solution (R2¼ 0.38; RMSE ¼ 61 N). Possible forces for 27 of 34 muscles varied between zero and the peak muscle force, inducing a peak hip force of 11.3 body-weights. Plausible muscle forces closely matched the selected EMG patterns; no effect of the EMG constraint was observed on the remaining muscle force ranges. The model can be used to study alternative muscle recruitment strategies in both physiological and pathophysiological neuromotor conditions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number20140094
    Pages (from-to)20140094
    Number of pages14
    JournalInterface focus
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


    • Electromyography
    • Human locomotion
    • Muscle synergy
    • Neuromusculoskeletal modelling
    • Statistic EMG-driven muscle force\
    • Stochastic muscle recruitment


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