Content » Vol 30, Issue 3

Relative EMG levels in training exercises for abdominal and hip flexor muscles

Andersson EA, Ma Z, Thorstensson A
Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
DOI: 10.1080/165019779830175183


The main purpose of our study was to compare systematically EMG levels in sub-maximal training exercises for the trunk and hip flexor muscles with those voluntarily attainable in corresponding situations. Six healthy subjects performed three types of standardized training exercises, whose static positions, movement velocity and range of motion were reproduced during maximal voluntary isokinetic strength tests. EMG was recorded with wire electrodes from the iliacus muscle and with surface electrodes from the rectus femoris, sartorius, rectus abdominis, obliquus externus and internus muscles. The relative EMG values demonstrated a task dependency which could differ between individual muscles. The maximal voluntary activation levels were relatively constant across conditions. Exceptions were present, particularly for the rectus femoris and iliacus muscles. These findings highlight the consequences of using different methods of normalizing EMG. The relative EMG values presented may serve as guidelines when selecting training exercises for specific trunk and hip flexor muscles in sports and rehabilitation.

Lay Abstract


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