The assessment of center of mass and center of pressure during quiet stance: Current applications and future directions

Sutton B. Richmond, Brett W. Fling, Hyunglae Lee, Daniel S. Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

18 Scopus citations


This perspective article provides a brief review of our understanding of how center of pressure (CoP) and center of mass (CoM) are traditionally utilized to measure quiet standing and how technological advancements are allowing for measurements to be derived outside the confines of a laboratory setting. Furthermore, this viewpoint provides descriptions of what CoP and CoM outcomes may reflect, a discussion of recent developments in selected balance outcomes, the importance of measuring instantaneous balance outcomes, and directions for future questions/research. Considering the enormous number and cost of falls annually, conclusions drawn from this perspective underscore the need for more cohesive efforts to advance our understanding of balance performance. As we refine the technology and algorithms used to portably assess postural stability, the question of which measurement (i.e. CoP or CoM) to utilize seems to be highly dependent on the question being asked. Further, the complexity of the question appears to span multiple disciplines and cultivate exploration of the intrinsic mechanisms of stability. Recently developed multi-dimensional methods for assessing balance performance may provide additional insight into balance, improving our ability to predict balance impairments and falls outside the laboratory and in the clinic. However, additional work will be necessary to understand the clinical significance and predictive capacity of these outcomes in various fall-prone populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110485
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
StatePublished - Jun 23 2021


  • Balance
  • Center of mass
  • Center of pressure
  • Inertial monitoring units
  • Portable force plate
  • Postural control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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