Anticipatory postural adjustments are pre-planned by the central nervous system (CNS) before the activation of agonist muscles in the limbs, and minimize postural sway. Most previous studies on this topic have focused on upper-limb movement, and little research has been conducted on lower-limb movement. The purpose of this study was to investigate the recruitment order of left and right trunk muscles during limb movement. Fifteen healthy subjects (10 male, 5 female) were enrolled. Electro-myographic signals were recorded on the muscles of: (1) deltoid, lumbar erector spinae, latissimus dorsi and internal oblique during shoulder flexion, (2) rectus femoris, rectus abdominis, external oblique and internal oblique during hip flexion. During right upper limb flexion, the onset of left erector spinae muscle and left internal oblique muscle activity preceded the onset of right deltoid by 8.09 ms and 19.83 ms, respectively. But these differences were not significant (p>.05). A similar sequence of activation occurred with lower limb flexion. The onset of left internal oblique muscle activity preceded the onset of right rectus femoris muscle by 28.29 ms (p<.05). The onset of right internal oblique muscle activity preceded the onset of left rectus femoris muscles by 23.24 ms (p<.05). The internal oblique muscle was the first activated during limb movement. Our study established the recruitment order of trunk muscles during limb movement, and explained the postural control strategy of the trunk muscles in healthy people. We expect that this study will be used to evaluate patients with an asymmetric recruitment order of muscle activation due to impaired CNS.
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