BACKGROUND/PURPOSE: While elastic resistance training, targeting the upper body is effective for strength training, the effect of elastic resistance training on lower body muscle activity remains questionable. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the EMG-angle relationship of the quadriceps muscle during 10-RM knee-extensions performed with elastic tubing and an isotonic strength training machine. METHODS: 7 women and 9 men aged 28-67 years (mean age 44 and 41 years, respectively) participated. Electromyographic (EMG) activity was recorded in 10 muscles during the concentric and eccentric contraction phase of a knee extension exercise performed with elastic tubing and in training machine and normalized to maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVC) EMG (nEMG). Knee joint angle was measured during the exercises using electronic inclinometers (range of motion 0-90°). RESULTS: When comparing the machine and elastic resistance exercises there were no significant differences in peak EMG of the rectus femoris (RF), vastus lateralis (VL), vastus medialis (VM) during the concentric contraction phase. However, during the eccentric phase, peak EMG was significantly higher (p<0.01) in RF and VM when performing knee extensions using the training machine. In VL and VM the EMG-angle pattern was different between the two training modalities (significant angle by exercise interaction). When using elastic resistance, the EMG-angle pattern peaked towards full knee extension (0°), whereas angle at peak EMG occurred closer to knee flexion position (90°) during the machine exercise. Perceived loading (Borg CR10) was similar during knee extensions performed with elastic tubing (5.7±0.6) compared with knee extensions performed in training machine (5.9±0.5). CONCLUSION: Knee extensions performed with elastic tubing induces similar high (>70% nEMG) quadriceps muscle activity during the concentric contraction phase, but slightly lower during the eccentric contraction phase, as knee extensions performed using an isotonic training machine. During the concentric contraction phase the two different conditions displayed reciprocal EMG-angle patterns during the range of motion. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 5.
International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, 2012, Vol 7, Issue 6, p. 606-16