Validation of a protocol for the estimation of three-dimensional body center of mass kinematics in sport

Andrea Mapelli, Matteo Zago, Laura Fusini, Domenico Galante, Andrea Colombo, Chiarella Sforza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Since strictly related to balance and stability control, body center of mass (CoM) kinematics is a relevant quantity in sport surveys. Many methods have been proposed to estimate CoM displacement. Among them, segmental method appears to be suitable to investigate CoM kinematics in sport: human body is assumed as a system of rigid bodies, hence the whole-body CoM is calculated as the weighted average of the CoM of each segment. The number of landmarks represents a crucial choice in the protocol design process: one have to find the proper compromise between accuracy and invasivity. In this study, using a motion analysis system, a protocol based upon the segmental method is validated, adopting an anatomical model comprising 14 landmarks. Two sets of experiments were conducted. Firstly, our protocol was compared to the ground reaction force method (GRF), accounted as a standard in CoM estimation. In the second experiment, we investigated the aerial phase typical of many disciplines, comparing our protocol with: (1) an absolute reference, the parabolic regression of the vertical CoM trajectory during the time of flight; (2) two common approaches to estimate CoM kinematics in gait, known as sacrum and reconstructed pelvis methods. Recognized accuracy indexes proved that the results obtained were comparable to the GRF; what is more, during the aerial phases our protocol showed to be significantly more accurate than the two other methods. The protocol assessed can therefore be adopted as a reliable tool for CoM kinematics estimation in further sport researches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)460-465
Number of pages6
JournalGait and Posture
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


  • Center of mass
  • Motion analysis
  • Segmental centroid
  • Sport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation
  • Biophysics


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