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Research Papers

Computational Prediction of Muscle Moments During ARED Squat Exercise on the International Space Station

[+] Author and Article Information
Benjamin J. Fregly

Department of Mechanical and
Aerospace Engineering,
University of Florida,
231 MAE-A Building,
P.O. Box 116250,
Gainesville, FL 32611
e-mail: fregly@ufl.edu

Christopher D. Fregly

International Baccalaureate Program,
Eastside High School,
1201 Southeast 43rd Street,
Gainesville, FL 32641
e-mail: dfregly@gmail.com

Brandon T. Kim

International Baccalaureate Program,
Eastside High School,
1201 Southeast 43rd Street,
Gainesville, FL 32641
e-mail: kimbrandontae@gmail.com

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received May 10, 2015; final manuscript received October 4, 2015; published online October 30, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Silvia Blemker.

J Biomech Eng 137(12), 121005 (Oct 30, 2015) (8 pages) Paper No: BIO-15-1230; doi: 10.1115/1.4031795 History: Received May 10, 2015; Revised October 04, 2015

Prevention of muscle atrophy caused by reduced mechanical loading in microgravity conditions remains a challenge for long-duration spaceflight. To combat leg muscle atrophy, astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) often perform squat exercise using the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED). While the ARED is effective at building muscle strength and volume on Earth, NASA researchers do not know how closely ARED squat exercise on the ISS replicates Earth-level squat muscle moments, or how small variations in exercise form affect muscle loading. This study used dynamic simulations of ARED squat exercise on the ISS to address these two questions. A multibody dynamic model of the complete astronaut-ARED system was constructed in OpenSim. With the ARED base locked to ground and gravity set to 9.81 m/s2, we validated the model by reproducing muscle moments, ground reaction forces, and foot center of pressure (CoP) positions for ARED squat exercise on Earth. With the ARED base free to move relative to the ISS and gravity set to zero, we then used the validated model to simulate ARED squat exercise on the ISS for a reference squat motion and eight altered squat motions involving changes in anterior–posterior (AP) foot or CoP position on the ARED footplate. The reference squat motion closely reproduced Earth-level muscle moments for all joints except the ankle. For the altered squat motions, changing the foot position was more effective at altering muscle moments than was changing the CoP position. All CoP adjustments introduced an undesirable shear foot reaction force that could cause the feet to slip on the ARED footplate, while some foot and CoP adjustments introduced an undesirable sagittal plane foot reaction moment that would cause the astronaut to rotate off the ARED footplate without the use of some type of foot fixation. Our results provide potentially useful information for achieving desired increases or decreases in specific muscle moments during ARED squat exercise performed on the ISS.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Picture of an astronaut performing ARED squat exercise on the ISS [11] (left) and picture of the complete astronaut-ARED model in the same configuration (right)

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Fig. 2

Experimental determination of muscle moments and foot and shoulder forces during ARED squat exercise on Earth (left) and computational simulation of the same quantities on Earth (right). Gravity was set to 9.81 m/s2 and the ARED base was locked to ground. For the experiment, measured foot reaction forces (green arrows) were inputs to an OpenSim skeletal model, while muscle moments and shoulder force (yellow arrows) were outputs calculated via an inverse dynamic approach. For the simulation, calibrated ARED vacuum cylinder loads (green arrows) were inputs to a complete astronaut-ARED OpenSim model, while muscle moments, shoulder force, and foot reaction force (yellow arrows) were outputs calculated via a hybrid forward-inverse dynamic approach. Arrows are only for graphical representation of the various input and output quantities. Muscle moment arrows for joints other than the hips have been omitted for clarity.

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Fig. 3

Motion sequence for computational simulation of muscle moments and foot and shoulder forces during ARED squat exercise on the ISS. Gravity was set to zero and the ARED base was free to translate and rotate relative to the ISS through the VIS.

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Fig. 4

Comparison of Earth experimental (black/dark) and Earth simulated (green/light) shear and axial foot forces, shoulder axial force, foot CoP relative to the heel, and back, hip, knee, and ankle moments for one cycle of ARED squat exercise. The squat cycle is defined from most extended posture to most flexed posture and back to most extended posture. Axial forces are positive in the superior direction, CoP is positive anterior to the heel position, and muscle moments are positive in the extensor direction.

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Fig. 5

Comparison of Earth experimental (black/dark) and ISS simulated (red/light) shear and axial foot forces, shoulder axial force, foot CoP relative to the heel, and back, hip, knee, and ankle moments for one cycle of ARED squat exercise. The squat cycle and positive directions are defined as in Fig. 4.

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Fig. 6

Percent changes in peak normalized force and moment values for average AP CoP position adjustments (top) and AP foot position adjustments (bottom) during simulated ARED squat exercise on the ISS. Foot indicates peak shear foot force normalized by the largest peak experimental force while back, hip, knee, and ankle indicate peak muscle moments normalized by the largest peak experimental moment. CoP and foot position changes are positive in the anterior direction.

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