Effects of constrained arm swing on vertical center of mass displacement during walking

Hyung Suk Yang, Lee T. Atkins, Daniel B. Jensen, C. Roger James

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of constraining arm swing on the vertical displacement of the body's center of mass (COM) during treadmill walking and examine several common gait variables that may account for or mask differences in the body's COM motion with and without arm swing. Participants included 20 healthy individuals (10 male, 10 female; age: 27.8 ± 6.8 years). The body's COM displacement, first and second peak vertical ground reaction forces (VGRFs), and lowest VGRF during mid-stance, peak summed bilateral VGRF, lower extremity sagittal joint angles, stride length, and foot contact time were measured with and without arm swing during walking at 1.34. m/s. The body's COM displacement was greater with the arms constrained (arm swing: 4.1 ± 1.2. cm, arm constrained: 4.9 ± 1.2. cm, p<. 0.001). Ground reaction force data indicated that the COM displacement increased in both double limb and single limb stance. However, kinematic patterns visually appeared similar between conditions. Shortened stride length and foot contact time also were observed, although these do not seem to account for the increased COM displacement. However, a change in arm COM acceleration might have contributed to the difference. These findings indicate that a change in arm swing causes differences in vertical COM displacement, which could increase energy expenditure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)430-434
Number of pages5
JournalGait and Posture
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2015


  • Energy
  • Gait
  • Ground reaction force
  • Kinematics


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