Electromyographic analysis of core trunk, hip, and thigh muscles during 9 rehabilitation exercises.

Ekstrom RA, Donatelli RA, Carp KC

The objective of this study was to identify exercises that could be used for strength development and the exercises that would be more appropriate for endurance or stabilization training. Surface EMG analysis was carried out while performing active hip abduction, bridge, unilateral-bridge, side-bridge, prone-bridge on the elbows and toes, quadruped arm/lower extremity lift, lateral step-up, standing lunge, and using the Dynamic Edge. In healthy subjects, the lateral step-up and the lunge exercises produced EMG levels greater than 45% maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) in the vastus medialis obliquus, which suggests that they may be beneficial for strengthening that muscle. The side-bridge exercise could be used for strengthening the gluteus medius and the external oblique abdominis muscles, and the quadruped arm/lower extremity lift exercise may help strengthen the gluteus maximus muscle. All the other exercises produced EMG levels less than 45% MVIC, so they may be more beneficial for training endurance or stabilization in healthy subjects.

Our results suggest these exercises could be used for a core rehabilitation or performance enhancement program. Depending on the individual needs of a patient or athlete, some of the exercises may be more beneficial than others for achieving strength.

J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 37(12):754-62

Link to Abstract