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Regularity of center of pressure trajectories in expert gymnasts during bipedal closed-eyes quiet standing. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience (2017) 11:317.

Isableu, B., Hlavackova, P., Diot, B., & Vuillerme, N
doi : 10.3389/fnhum.2017.00317


We compared postural control of expert gymnasts (G) to that of non-gymnasts (NG) during bipedal closed-eyes quiet standing using conventional and nonlinear dynamical measures of center of foot pressure (COP) trajectories. Earlier findings based on COP classical variables showed that gymnasts exhibited a better control of postural balance but only in demanding stances. We examined whether the effect of expertise in Gymnastic can be uncovered in less demanding stances, from the analysis of the dynamic patterns of COP trajectories. Three dependent variables were computed to describe the subject’s postural behavior: the variability of COP displacements (ACoP), the variability of the COP velocities (VCoP) and the sample entropy of COP (SEnCoP) to quantify COP regularity (i.e., predictability). Conventional analysis of COP trajectories showed that NG and G exhibited similar amount and control of postural sway, as indicated by similar ACoP and VCoP values observed in NG and G, respectively. These results suggest that the specialized balance training received by G may not transfer to less challenging balance conditions such as the bipedal eyes-closed stance condition used in the present experiment. Interestingly, nonlinear dynamical analysis of COP trajectories regarding COP regularity showed that G exhibited more irregular COP fluctuations relative to NG, as indicated by the higher SEnCoP values observed for the G than for the NG. The present results showed that a finer-grained analysis of the dynamic patterns of the COP displacements is required to uncover an effect of gymnastic expertise on postural control in nondemanding postural stance. The present findings shed light on the surplus value in the nonlinear dynamical analysis of COP trajectories to gain further insight into the mechanisms involved in the control of bipedal posture.

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Published on August 23, 2018