In depth information on natural human gaits

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In depth information on natural human gaits

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Fri May 25, 2018 3:23 am UTC

I'm looking to do some in depth reading about natural human gaits. By in depth I mean "several times more than the Wikipedia articles" As in "what what things do people naturally do under what circumstances, under what instincts, and what are the effects/benefits of these actions? Could anyone recommend some reading?

For context: I do partner dancing at a pretty high level, and instructors from different styles and cultures have wildly different ideas about what a natural human walk involves. So when I hear the word "natural" I basically treat it as a pronoun (proadjective?) that means "whatever takes the least mental effort for me, personally".
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Re: In depth information on natural human gaits

Postby Eebster the Great » Fri May 25, 2018 6:22 pm UTC

Human gait is extremely complex. Just look at the path the center of pressure takes across your foot while running. (Walking is even more complicated.) A friend of mine used to study this at the Gait Lab at the Cleveland Clinic. If nobody here can give you help, you can email Matt Streicher and ask nicely for resources. (

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Re: In depth information on natural human gaits

Postby Soupspoon » Fri May 25, 2018 6:56 pm UTC

Part of the gait (you remind me that I have a project that involves this, sitting still to be completed on a USB drive) is push-vs-swing of various joints.

In the gait that Samuel Vimes might call "proceeding", the lower-leg is allowed to effortlessly swing like a compound pendulum beneath the carefully-timed upper-leg, the same frequency but slightly lagging behind the 'kick' forward and back at the hip/thigh part, and a slightly less than perfect sinusoidal curve at that. Power-walking, OTOH, more closely synchronises the forward and rearward swings at both hip and knee to effect a more powerful thrust on the foot (which also does more duty, at the ankle, including ensuring the forward swing clears the ground while the rearward push stands on it - something the slight asynchrony of "proceeding" inherently creates¹.

Then there's perpendicular rocking, sideways hip action that raises and lowers the upper fulcrum with various degrees of stagger, and also hip-twist around the vertical axis. Deliberation of walk (also the difference between male and female hip/groin geometries, if you want to go into such depths) will change the exact gait used, as you can compare between casual strolling and a rushed (but not yet running) walking progress.

Not sure if this is helpful. The whole biomechanical studies done by people whose field this is are going to be far more comprehensive than what I could easily summarise (and I've just been looking at creating a gait from a need, not taking a gait and working out why it arose). If onward links from Wikipedia aren't useful, I'm sure careful ploughing through a well-crafted Google search might find you some (free to access) academic treatises, though.

¹ See also various "Passive Walking Robot" designs, where feet are just fixed rockers with no finessing to add to the compound leg-bend.

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