JOURNAL ARTICLE

Quadriceps EMG/force relationship in knee extension and leg press

B A Alkner, P A Tesch, H E Berg
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2000, 32 (2): 459-63
10694132

PURPOSE: This study compared the relationship between surface electromyographic (EMG) activity and isometric force of m. quadriceps femoris (QF) in the single-joint knee extension (KE) and the multi-joint leg press (LP) exercises.

METHODS: Nine healthy men performed unilateral actions at a knee angle of 90 degrees at 20, 40, 60, 80, and 100% of maximal voluntary contraction (MVC). EMG was measured from m. vastus lateralis (VL), m. vastus medialis (VM), m. rectus femoris (RF), and m. biceps femoris (BF).

RESULTS: There were no differences in maximum EMG activity of individual muscles between KE and LP. The QF EMG/force relationship was nonlinear in each exercise modality. VL showed no deviation from linearity in neither exercise, whereas VM and RF did. BF activity increased linearly with increased loads.

CONCLUSIONS: The EMG/force relationship of all quadricep muscles studied appears to be similar in isometric multi-joint LP and single-joint KE actions at a knee angle of 90 degrees. This would indicate the strategy of reciprocal force increment among muscles involved is comparable in the two models. Furthermore, these data suggest a nonuniform recruitment pattern among the three superficial QF muscles and surface EMG recordings from VL to be most reliable in predicting force output.

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