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Neural Control of Rhythmic Human Movement: The Common Core Hypothesis

Zehr, E Paul

Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews: January 2005 - Volume 33 - Issue 1 - p 54-60

Rhythmic motor patterns are ubiquitous in the animal kingdom. Walking, cycling, and swimming are examples of rhythmic locomotor tasks that humans perform routinely. This paper outlines the common core hypothesis that rhythmic motor patterns in human locomotion share common central neural control mechanisms. This is subserved by presumed central pattern generators that regulate arm and leg movements during locomotion.

Different locomotor activities share common neural control mechanisms.

Rehabilitation Neuroscience Laboratory, School of Physical Education, University of Victoria, and International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD), Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Address for correspondence: E. Paul Zehr, Rehabilitation Neuroscience Laboratory, P.O. Box 3010 STN CSC, A358 MacLaurin Building, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada, V8W 3P1 (E-mail:,

Accepted for publication: September 4, 2004.

©2005 The American College of Sports Medicine