Motor control programs and walking

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The question of how the central nervous system coordinates muscle activity is central to an understanding of motor control. The authors argue that motor programs may be considered as a characteristic timing of muscle activations linked to specific kinematic events. In particular, muscle activity occurring during human locomotion can be accounted for by five basic temporal components in a variety of locomotion conditions. Spatiotemporal maps of spinal cord motoneuron activation also show discrete periods of activity. Furthermore, the coordination of locomotion with voluntary tasks is accomplished through a superposition of motor programs or activation timings that are separately associated with each task. As a consequence, the selection of muscle synergies appears to be downstream from the processes that generate activation timings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-348
Number of pages10
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2006



  • Central pattern generator
  • EMG activity
  • Human locomotion
  • Muscle synergies
  • Time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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