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J Athl Train. 1999 Oct-Dec; 34(4): 353–357.
PMCID: PMC1323346

An Electromyographic Comparison of 4 Closed Chain Exercises

J. Ty Hopkins, MS, ATC, Christopher D. Ingersoll, PhD, ATC, Michelle A. Sandrey, PhD, ATC, and Susan D. Bleggi, EdD, ATC

Abstract

Objective:

Closed chain exercises are used in the clinical setting to safely strengthen the muscles about the knee. We compared the EMG activity of 3 muscles (vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and biceps femoris) during 4 closed chain exercises (unilateral one-quarter squat, lateral step-up, FlexCord front pull, and FlexCord back pull) to determine which exercise produced the most muscle activity.

Design and Setting:

We used a 4 × 3 × 2 factorial design with repeated measures on exercise, muscle, and movement (knee flexion and extension). Muscle and movement were the control variables for post hoc comparisons. Data were collected in a sports injury research laboratory.

Subjects:

Thirty-eight healthy, active female college students aged 21.97 ± 2.8 years, with height 166.9 ± 6.3 cm and weight 61.9 ± 8.5 kg. Subjects had no history of lower extremity pathology that resulted in surgery and no lower extremity pathology within the last year.

Measurements:

We placed surface electrodes on the vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and biceps femoris muscles. Synchronized with a metronome, subjects performed 3 repetitions of 4 exercises between 5° and 30° of knee flexion. Electromyographic measurements were taken from the middle third of the flexion and extension phase of each repetition.

Results:

The FlexCord front pull and back pull produced higher levels of biceps femoris activity than the quarter squat and step-up. The FlexCord front pull also produced a higher level of vastus medialis activity during knee extension than the quarter squat, lateral step-up, or FlexCord back pull.

Conclusions:

The high levels of biceps femoris activity during the FlexCord exercises indicate that a greater cocontraction exists. With a greater cocontraction, the FlexCord exercises could be safely used during ACL rehabilitation. The high levels of vastus medialis activity during the FlexCord front pull suggest that it may be a beneficial exercise for patellofemoral rehabilitation.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
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