Coordination of Antagonistic Muscles
PhD thesis by Svend Sparre Geertsen
2011, 118 pages, DKR 100,-
ISBN: 978 87 917 71 31 6
In all sports, effective coordination of movements is critical for success. The central nervous system (CNS) controls which muscles should be activated and which muscles should be “turned off” in order to accomplish the desired movement.
This CNS control requires integration of signals from the brain with spinal reflex pathways. Impaired coordination of antagonistic muscles is a frequent complication following a CNS lesion and is partly due to a reduced efficacy and control of some of these reflex pathways.
In this thesis, I present new evidence on the contribution of one of these reflex pathways, reciprocal inhibition, in “turning off” the antagonist at the appropriate time during a movement. I then show that reciprocal inhibition can be upregulated with training.
In addition, I demonstrate that a separate pathway sends excitatory signals to the antagonist prior to the onset of movement. Such a pathway may be of importance when making quick switches between antagonistic muscle activities.
Together, these studies suggest that the coordination of antagonistic muscles is highly flexible and adaptable, both in the short and in the long term. From an applied perspective, these findings are interesting in relation to (neuro)rehabilitation and sports science.
From PhD defence January 28, 2011.
Content (pdf, 27 kb)
Summary (pdf, 20 kb)
Preface (pdf, 18 kb)
List of studies (pdf, 29 kb)