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SUMMARY: Undergrad motor control labs

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  • SUMMARY: Undergrad motor control labs

    I have sent this summary to all three discussion groups that I posed the
    question to, so that explains why you may have recieved multiple copies of
    this summary.

    The following is a summary (finally) of the responses I obtained to my
    original posting regarding undergraduate motor control labs that people
    have developed.

    The original posting:
    Does anybody have recommendations for undergrad neuromuscular control
    lab activities for exercise science students? Any specific lab manual,
    text or web based resources would be appreciated. I have intentionally
    omitted a description of existing lab resources & equipment, because I
    would like to elicit a wide range of suggestions, some to work towards, not
    just suggestions for existing facilities. Also, what text book has been
    found to be good for the lecture component?
    I don't need all the details of lab size etc. as Danny Too requested for
    Biomechanics labs, but my summary will include any information I receive.

    Three people provided detailed lab information, including sending me
    complete copies of lab manuals (Tuula Tyry, Noraxon USA Inc., Jeff Ives,
    Ithaca College, G. Rash, Frazier Rehab Center, Louisville, Kentucky).
    Others provided other details and suggestions.

    Thanks again to the people who provided me with information.

    The information is summarized as follows:

    FIRST: I list the few web based resources identified

    SECOND:To give an overview of what is being taught in the lab manuals I was
    sent, I have listed the titles of the labs provided by Drs. Ives & Rash.

    THIRD: The description by Dr. Tyry of what she does with students, and
    other lab comments made by Doug Weeks, Regis.

    FOURTH: A list of books recommended (with a few lab comments mixed in).


    You might want to look at the Clinical Gait Analysis Teach-in at:
    (FROM Chris Kirtley, Hong Kong Polytechnic University)

    Motor control Instructors at the University of Arizona posts class
    outlines on their web page. I think it can be accessed through the
    Neuromuscular Control website at: http://

    Introduction to Motor Learning

    Speed/Accuracy Tradeoff, Criterion Measures, and EMG

    Bimanual Control


    Motor Unit Activation: Single Motor Unit Control, Rheobase, Chronaxie

    Reflexive Control

    Muscle and Neuromechanics

    Posture, Balance, Locomotion

    A Case Study

    Motor control instrumentation: EMG principles, kinematics and kinetics.

    Cognitive processes in motor control: attention, motivation, effort, and
    neural outflow. Alternate: Transfer effects, bilateral transfer, and
    neural overflow: can training occur without training?

    >From motor learning to motor control: the training of single motor units
    and motor unit behavior.

    Reflex function and integration of reflex activities into volitional control.

    Physiological tremor.

    What the EMG reveals about muscle contraction: the effects of static,
    ballistic, ramp, concentric, and eccentric contractions on the EMG signal.

    What does the CNS control in the muscle: using the triphasic EMG pattern
    from single joint movements as a motor control model.

    Length-Tension-Velocity relationships: measuring and taking advantage of
    the stretch short cycle.

    Static, ballistic, and PNF stretching: the neuromechanics of stretching.

    Gaitlab: investigation into computerized analysis of gait.

    Anthropometrics and gait: is walking as simple as predicted by the
    force-driven harmonic oscillator?

    Neuromuscular re-education: training to reduce tremor with biofeedback.

    Using manual therapy to elicit neuromuscular changes.

    Using EMG to assess muscle function and use: How does the abdominal
    musculature activate during different types of sit-ups?

    Kinesthetic Awareness

    Electromyographic: Analysis of Muscle Contraction

    isometric, concentric, and isometric breaking strength

    load-speed relationships


    After reviewing the basic physiology of muscle contraction and some of the
    associated terminology, I have the students explore and experiment with
    different types of movements while viewing the associated EMG amplitude,
    pattern and variability. (See Lab 1). As we move on to more complex
    issues (coordinative structures, timing, invariant characteristics of a
    movement pattern etc.) I have them see for themselves what is happening
    by using multiple channels of EMG. Metabolic fatigue and recovery are
    demonstrated with frequency analysis etc. This has proven to be quite an
    eye-opening experience even for those with long experience in
    rehabilitation or exercise science, especially since they serve as subjects

    The course I teach is a combo of motor learning and motor control
    topics, and unfortunately can't refer you to a "stand alone" set of labs
    for motor control topics. I do use software that was developed by Dave
    Goodman and was distributed through Brown & Benchmark Publishers until
    this year (they dropped the contract to distribute it). It has labs
    primarily devoted to motor learning topics, but does have a few devoted
    to motor control topics, such as probe reaction time, psychological
    refractory period, etc. It does not have modules developed for
    physiological labs in motor control, such as EMG. However, this year, we
    purchased a computer-based student lab package from Biopac that has
    modlues devoted to EMG as well as modules that would be useful for
    undergrad experiences in such courses as Ex Phys (ECG, stress testing,
    etc.) and Sport Psych (biofeedback, EEG & relaxation. etc.). I would
    suggest that you contact Dave to see if he can supply you with the disks
    for his labs, and the number for Biopac is (805)685-0066 if you want to
    check it out. (FROM Doug Weeks, Regis)

    1995 (new) edition of "Essentials of Neural Science and Behavior by
    Kandel, Schartz, and Jessell. Its a condensed version of the classic
    Principles of Neural Science by Kandel and Schartz. (FROM Patrick Hannon,

    I use no text for the students, instead I have an extensive course packet
    based on notes I have made over the past 4-5 years (when I got my first
    job). I use no text because there is no text suitable for undergraduates.
    Most texts are rife full of esoteric theories, have data/info based on
    non-real life lab experiments, are just to difficult for the average
    undergrad, or have too much of a motor learning/psychological approach.
    Most of all, the text are simply
    way too theory-based with no practical information the students can use.
    (FROM Jeff Ives)

    I'm sure some use McGill's text only, some would use Lieber's text only (I
    use his as well), many I am sure use Enoka only.(ALSO FROM Jeff Ives)

    For motor control labs we review motor systems neuroanatomy using Pinel's
    Anatomy of the Human Brain, Allyn and Bacon 1998. In the past I also used
    Diamond, Scheibel and Elson's The Human Brain Coloring Book, Barnes &
    Noble, 1985. Along with this we usually have an EMG demonstration, and a
    demonstrtion of anticipatory postural EMG in leg muscles associated with a
    voluntary arm flexion. We are also adding an H-reflex demo lab. For a
    text, I use selected chapters from Kandel, Schwartz & Jessell, Principles
    of Neural Science, Elsevier, 3rd edition.
    (FROM Ann M. Scarborough, UTEXAS

    Shea's text, Motor Control and Learning (prentice hall) has an
    accompanying lab manual for use on the computer to demonstrate key
    principles, laws, etc.
    (FROM A. Behrman)

    gordon; if it is a lower level class, i recommend charle shea's book an
    accompanying lab manual, "motor control and learning" (i may have those two
    reversed. the text provides very good and accessible examples at the
    beginning of each chapter, and the lab manual comes with a pc-compatible
    disc on which some very basic reaction time tasks and such are provided.
    I would also recommend either one of richard schmidt's books (one of which
    shall be coming out with a new edition this fall), and richard magill's
    text, motor learning, which may be the most useful undergrad text there
    is(FROM Stephen Page)

    Since "motor control" is so broad, I'm not certain where your emphasis with
    undergrads would be. But, you might consider two texts: "Neuromechanical
    Basis of Kinesiology" by Roger Enoka and "Skeletal Muscle Structure and
    Function" by Rick Lieber. (FROM A. Messaros, UIOWA)

    ************************************************** ***********
    Gordon Chalmers, Ph.D.
    Dept. of Physical Education, Health and Recreation
    Western Washington University, M/S 9067
    Bellingham WA
    Phone: (360) 650-3113
    FAX: (360) 650-7447