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To determine the electromyographic (EMG) activity of the vastus medialis oblique (VMO), vastus lateralis (VL), semitendinosus and semimembranosus (ST), and biceps femoris (BF) muscles during 4 elastic-tubing closed kinetic chain exercises in postoperative patients with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)-reconstructed knees.
A 4 × 4 repeated-measures analysis of variance design guided this study. Independent variables were type of exercise and muscle; the dependent variable was EMG activity.
Fifteen patients, 5 to 24 weeks after ACL reconstruction.
Subjects performed 4 exercises (front pull, back pull, crossover, reverse crossover) with elastic tubing attached to the foot of the uninjured leg. Time-and amplitude- normalized EMG activity was recorded from the VMO, VL, ST, and BF muscles of the injured leg. The hamstrings: quadriceps ratio was calculated.
The normalized VMO, VL, and BF EMG activity ranged from 25% to 50% of maximum voluntary isometric contraction for the 4 exercises. The ST ranged from 12% on the back pull to 58% on the front pull. The hamstrings: quadriceps ratios were 137% (front pull), 115% (crossover), 70% (back pull), and 60% (reverse crossover).
We suggest that clinicians use these exercises during early ACL rehabilitation since they incorporate early weightbearing with hamstring and quadriceps coactivation.