Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Department of


Document Type


Date of this Version



Gait & Posture 81 (September 2020), pp. 138–143.

doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2020.07.018


Copyright © 2020 Elsevier B.V. Used by permission.


Background: A motor-assisted elliptical trainer is being used clinically to help individuals with physical disabilities regain and/or retain walking ability and cardiorespiratory fitness. Unknown is how the device’s training parameters can be used to optimize movement variability and regularity. This study examined the effect of motor-assisted elliptical training speed as well as body weight support (BWS) on center of pressure (CoP) movement variability and regularity during training. Methods: CoP was recorded using in-shoe pressure insoles as participants motor-assisted elliptical trained at three speeds (20, 40, and 60 cycles per minute) each performed at four BWS levels (0%, 20%, 40%, and 60%). Separate two-way repeated measures ANOVAs (3 × 4) evaluated impact of training speed and BWS on linear variability (standard deviation) and nonlinear regularity (sample entropy) of CoP excursion (anterior-posterior, medial-lateral) for 10 dominant limb strides. Findings: Training speed and BWS did not significantly affect the linear variability of CoP in the anterior-posterior or medial-lateral directions. However, sample entropy in both directions revealed the main effect of training speed (p < 0.0001), and a main effect of BWS was observed in the medial-lateral direction (p = 0.004). Faster training speeds and greater levels of BWS resulted in more irregular CoP patterns. Interpretation: The finding that speed and BWS can be used to manipulate CoP movement variability when using a motor-assisted elliptical has significant clinical implications for promoting/restoring walking capacity. Further research is required to determine the impact of motor-assisted elliptical speed and BWS manipulations on functional recovery of walking in individuals who have experienced a neurologic injury or illness.