Arnaud Dupeyron, Sietse M. Rispens, Christophe Demattei, Jaap H. van Dieën

November 2013, Volume 22, Issue 12, pp 2678 - 2685 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-013-2797-2

First Online: 08 May 2013


Local dynamic stability of trunk movements quantified by means of the maximum Lyapunov exponent (λmax) can provide information on trunk motor control and might offer a measure of trunk control in low-back pain patients. It is unknown how many repetitions are necessary to obtain sufficiently precise estimates of λmax and whether fatigue effects on λmax can be avoided while increasing the number of repetitions.


Ten healthy subjects performed 100 repetitions of trunk movements in flexion, of trunk rotation and of a task combining these movement directions. λmax was calculated from thorax, pelvis and trunk (thorax relative to pelvis) kinematics. Data series were analyzed using a bootstrap procedure; ICC and coefficient of variation were used to quantify precision as a function of the number of cycles analyzed. ANOVA was used to compare movement tasks and to test for effects of time.


Trunk local stability reached acceptable precision level after 30 repetitions. λmax was higher (indicating lower stability) in flexion, compared to rotation and combined tasks. There was no time effect (fatigue). λmax of trunk movement was lower and less variable than that of thorax and pelvis movements.


The data provided allow for an informed choice of the number of repetitions in assessing local dynamic stability of trunk movements, weighting the gain in precision against the increase in measurement effort. Within the 100 repetitions tested, fatigue did not affect results. We suggest that increased stability during asymmetric movement may be explained by higher co-activation of trunk muscles.

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