Biomechanical demands of exercises commonly performed by older adults in falls prevention programs

Lyndsay R. Stutzenberger*, Marc F. Norcross, Christine D. Pollard, Tory M. Hagen, Colin M.S. Mulligan, Yu Lun Huang, Cathleen N. Brown Crowell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Tailored, challenging and progressed exercise programs addressing risk factors are recommended for preventing falls in community-dwelling older adults. Knowing the biomechanical demands of exercises commonly performed in efficacious falls prevention programs provides evidence for exercise prescription. Methods: Twenty-one non-sedentary older adults (10 men, 11 women, mean age 69 [SD 5] years) performed five standing exercises (hip abduction, side-step, squat, forward lunge, and side lunge). A biomechanical analysis of the dominant limb was performed to calculate peak joint angles and net joint moments at the ankle, knee and hip in multiple planes. Repeated-measures one-way analyses of variance followed by post-hoc comparisons were performed to identify differences in the calculated variables between exercises. Findings: Peak hip abduction moments during hip abduction were greater than during the forward lunge and squat (P < 0.001). During the side-step, peak plantar flexion moments were greater than the squat and peak hip abduction moments were greater than the squat and forward lunge (P < 0.001). During the squat, peak hip flexion was greatest (P < 0.001) while peak plantar flexion (P < 0.001) and hip abduction moments (P ≤ 0.002) were less than all other exercises. During the forward lunge, peak hip extension moments (P < 0.001) were greatest. During the side lunge, peak knee extension moments were greater than all other exercises (P < 0.001). Interpretation: These biomechanical data will allow clinicians to tailor exercises for falls prevention to efficiently challenge but not overload muscle groups and minimize exercise prescription redundancies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105863
JournalClinical Biomechanics
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Jan


  • Kinematics
  • Kinetics
  • Tailored exercise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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