View Full Version : summary: force plate usage

04-08-2003, 04:08 AM
Hi, all:

I posted this message last week and following is a summary. Thanks to all
who replied.


Hi, all:

I am a graduate student wanting to know where the force plates are used and
how they are used. I searched the archive and found similar questions have
been asked but no answers were provided. So if you are familiar with any
biomechanic or clinical reaserch involving force plates, could you point me
some good survey paper, textbook or web resources to read? You help will be
appreciated and I will post a summary if I ever get any reply.

-Kay Ma
University of British Columbia


we use ours for gait analysis mainly


You will find a general review of force platforms and their use in gait
analysis in my textbook (pp.148-152). The book is: Gait analysis: an
introduction (third edition) Michael W. Whittle Oxford:
Butterworth-Heinemann (2002) ISBN 0 7506 5262 4

Michael W. Whittle, MD, PhD
Cline Chair of Rehabilitation Technology
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
615 McCallie Ave.
Chattanooga, Tennessee 37403, USA
Phone: +1-423-425-4046
Fax: +1-423-425-2215
Email: Michael-Whittle@utc.edu
Website: http://www.utc.edu/~mwhittle/Whittle.htm

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I'm sure you will be getting many messages on texts, so will just tell you
of a couple different projects we've done with our force plates. We have had
holes drilled and screw threads tapped into the top of the two AMTI force
plates we have at Northern Michigan University. We then attach larger plates
or different things to the top to allow measurement of pulling forces.

D.O. Blackard, R.L. Jensen, W.P. Ebben. (1999) Challenging kinetic chain
terminology through analysis of EMG values during biomechanically comparable
exercises. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 31:443-448.
Examined forces by having subjects do push-ups on the force plate
and match the downward force to a barbell load.

E.K. Gannon and R.L. Jensen. (1999) Reliability of peak forces during
isometric curl-ups in a population of 50-84 year olds. Measurement in
Physical Education and Exercise Science 3: 101-106.
Attached the subject with chest harness via a cable and pulley system to
pull up on the force platform. A eye bolt was screwed into a hole drilled
into the center of the force platform. In two other studies that haven't
been completed yet, a similar set up was used to determine pulling force: 1)
during the kicking phase of swimming a harness was placed around the
subject's waist (similar to tethered swimming) and 2) anterior dislocating
force placed on the knee in a motion similar to dropping to a deep squat
while skiing (strap attached just distal to the knee with subject seated).
I'm not sure that I'm describing the latter correctly, as wasn't a project I
was as closely involved in.

W.P. Ebben, D.O. Blackard, R.L. Jensen. (1999) Quantification of medicine
ball vertical impact forces: Estimating effective training loads. Journal of
Strength and Conditioning Research 13: 271-274.
Medicine balls of various sizes were dropped from various heights to
estimate peak forces in stoppping the ball.

W.P. Ebben, R.L. Jensen, D.O. Blackard. (2000) Electromyographic and kinetic
analysis of complex training exercise variables. Journal of Strength and
Conditioning Research, 14: 451-456.
An oversized (.75 X 1.0 meter) plate was fastened to the top of the
force platform with screws tapped into the top plate and then a bench for
bench presses was clamped to the top of the large plate. Vertical GRF were
then determined during bench presses and medicine ball catch-and-throws. The
same system has been used for a number of weightlifting exercise studies.

R.L. Jensen & S.A.A. Barinotti. (2001) Comparison of ground-reaction forces
while kicking a stationary and non-stationary soccer ball. In Proceedings of
the XIX International Symposium of Biomechanics in Sports, Vol 1 (J.
Blackwell, editor) 238-241.
This is similar to any gait analysis study, but examined GRF of the
support foot when kicking soccer balls.

We also have just begun to use rock climbing hand holds attached with bolts
to investigate the 3D forces exerted by the hands and feet during climbing.
You can visit our lab web site to see a photo of this at:

If you have any further questions, you can contact me at
Good luck with your research.


Randall Jensen
Visiting Professor
Dept. Physical Ed & Sports Science
University of Limerick

Phone: +353 61 202820
U.S. Phone: +1-906-227-1184
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Dear Kay,

I've used the web pages of Young-Hoo Kwon. Here you'll find both a lot of
theoretic stuff about the usage of force plates, and also many literature
references: http://kwon3d.com/theory/grf.html

Another simple trick would be to search for the term "force plate" in

Good luck
Vivi Thorup
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Hi Kay,

As one of the few manufacturers of force plates, we can give you some
insight on the areas where force plates are used. The main application area
is in the motion analysis of human body for gait and sports applications.
These applications are mainly clinical and research applications. You can
find a wast amount of literature on these studies. Besides those studies,
there are less known areas where force plates are used. We have
customers that perform animal studies ranging from equinestrian studies
with large force plates to studies on rats with custom designed mini
plates. The same mini plates are used to measure tapping forces while using
a typewriter or keyboard. We have customers that use the force plates for
impact analysis of crush test dummies. Some researchers use water proof
plates in swimming pools to analyze forces exerted during turning while
competitive swimming or at starting blocks of the swimming pools. Force
plates are also used in robotics applications to measure forces that robots
exert on the environment. Finally, a slightly different version of the
force plate which is called the balance plate is used for sway analysis of
patients with a large variety of disorders.

If you have further questions, I will be happy to answer them.

Best regards,

H. Cenk Guler, Ph.D.
Research Scientist
Bertec Corporation
6185 Huntley Road, Suite B
Columbus, OH 43229

Phone : 614 430-5421 Ext. 223
Fax : 614 430-5425
E-mail : cenk@bertec.com

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Dear Key,

The best person to know different things about applications of force plates
the research in humans is Dr. Janice Eng from UBC, not very far from you. I
spent one month in her lab last May. If you decide to contact Janice, give
my best.

Contact: Dr. Janice Eng, GF Strong Rehab Research Lab, 4255 Laurel Street,
Vancouver, BC, V5Z 2G9
Phone: (604) 714-4105

Michal Kuczynski, Academy of Physical Education, Wroclaw, Poland

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here is a recent interim report we have prepared on some aspect of
using the force plate for balance studies (ca 1.8 MB):


this is probably the best website on the topic of posturologie:



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Dear Kay Ma,

If you haven't already, take a look at AMTI's website at www.amtiweb.com.

We are AMTI's representatives in the UK and Ireland.


Sara Brammall,
Summit Medical and Scientific

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Take a look at the manufacturers web-Sites:


Or take a standard biomechancs tsxt book
e.g.: Nigg & Herzog, Biomechanics of the musculo-skeletal systen, Wiley
Allard et al., Three-dimensional analysis of human locomotion,
Wiley 1997


Heinz-Bodo Schmiedmayer

Institut für Mechanik
Technische Universität Wien
Wiedner Hauptstraße 8-10/325/1

Tel: +43 (1) 58801-32515
Fax: +43 (1) 58801-32599
e-mail: Heinz-Bodo.Schmiedmayer@tuwien.ac.at
WEB: http://www.mechanik.tuwien.ac.at/

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I hope the following comments may be of use to you. Your question is very
broad, I think.

Forceplates are often fitted in clinical gait labs (in the USA and Europe,
and possibly more widely) to obtain kinetic data of gait from patients. Some
labs are involved in research activities and use the same kind of systems.
Joint moments are calculated from the force plate data and knowledge of the
joint positions / angles measured by the 3D system. Increasingly researchers
are using gait analysis in the context of providing an outcome measure of
(e.g. physiotherapy, drug therapy) interventions. In addition, forceplates
are often used in posture studies to measure parameters of balance.

In terms of research papers, you might find those published in Gait and
Posture relevant. Or consult Journal of Biomechanics if you wish to widen
the application area.

Be aware that the medical application of force platforms is only one area -
there are a number of other contexts in which forceplatforms are being used
for industrial R & D, e.g. I believe they are used in the dynamic testing of
suspension / ride of vehicles. Possibly you could contact Kistler in Germany
or Bertech for advice. Their sales and marketing departments would be able
to advise you.

Dominic Lloyd-Lucas
Clinical Engineer
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals

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Why don't you try your own University!
Good luck

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