Quadriceps femoris electromyogram during concentric, isometric and eccentric phases of fatiguing dynamic knee extensions

Danny M Pincivero, Varsha Gandhi, Mark K Timmons, Alan J Coelho
Journal of Biomechanics 2006, 39 (2): 246-54
The objective of this study was to examine the superficial quadriceps femoris (QF) muscle electromyogram (EMG) during fatiguing knee extensions. Thirty young adults were evaluated for their one-repetition maximum (1RM) during a seated, right-leg, inertial knee extension. All subjects then completed a single set of repeated knee extensions at 50% 1RM, to failure. Subjects performed a knee extension (concentric phase), held the weight with the knee extended for 2s (isometric phase), and lowered the weight in a controlled manner (eccentric phase). Raw EMG of the vastus medialis (VM), vastus lateralis (VL) and rectus femoris (RF) muscles were full-wave rectified, integrated and normalized to the 1RM EMG, for each respective phase and repetition. The EMG median frequency (f(med)) was computed during the isometric phase. An increase in QF muscle EMG was observed during the concentric phase across the exercise duration. VL EMG was greater than the VM and RF muscles during the isometric phase, in which no significant changes occurred in any of the muscles across the exercise duration. A significant decrease in EMG across the exercise duration was observed during the eccentric phase, with the VL EMG greater than the VM and RF muscles. A greater decrease in VL and RF muscle f(med) during the isometric phase, than the VM muscle, was observed with no gender differences. The findings demonstrated differential recruitment of the superficial QF muscle, depending on the contraction mode during dynamic knee extension exercise, where VL muscle dominance appears to manifest across the concentric-isometric-eccentric transition.

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