Neuro-Mechanics of Recumbent Leg Cycling in Post-Acute Stroke Patients

Emilia Ambrosini, Cristiano de Marchis, Alessandra Pedrocchi, Giancarlo Ferrigno, Marco Monticone, Maurizio Schmid, Tommaso D’Alessio, Silvia Conforto, Simona Ferrante

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cycling training is strongly applied in post-stroke rehabilitation, but how its modular control is altered soon after stroke has been not analyzed yet. EMG signals from 9 leg muscles and pedal forces were measured bilaterally during recumbent pedaling in 16 post-acute stroke patients and 12 age-matched healthy controls. Patients were asked to walk over a GaitRite mat and standard gait parameters were computed. Four muscle synergies were extracted through nonnegative matrix factorization in healthy subjects and patients unaffected legs. Two to four synergies were identified in the affected sides and the number of synergies significantly correlated with the Motricity Index (Spearman’s coefficient = 0.521). The reduced coordination complexity resulted in a reduced biomechanical performance, with the two-module sub-group showing the lowest work production and mechanical effectiveness in the affected side. These patients also exhibited locomotor impairments (reduced gait speed, asymmetrical stance time, prolonged double support time). Significant correlations were found between cycling-based metrics and gait parameters, suggesting that neuro-mechanical quantities of pedaling can inform on walking dysfunctions. Our findings support the use of pedaling as a rehabilitation method and an assessment tool after stroke, mainly in the early phase, when patients can be unable to perform a safe and active gait training.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Biomechanics
  • Electromyography
  • Hemiparesis
  • Motor control
  • Muscle synergies
  • Pedaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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