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1.  MUSCLE ACTIVITY DURING KNEE‐EXTENSION STRENGTHENING EXERCISE PERFORMED WITH ELASTIC TUBING AND ISOTONIC RESISTANCE 
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
PMCID: PMC3537465  PMID: 23316424
Electromyography; strength training; quadriceps; perceived exertion
2.  SWISS BALL ABDOMINAL CRUNCH WITH ADDED ELASTIC RESISTANCE IS AN EFFECTIVE ALTERNATIVE TO TRAINING MACHINES 
Background:
Swiss ball training is recommended as a low intensity modality to improve joint position, posture, balance, and neural feedback. However, proper training intensity is difficult to obtain during Swiss ball exercises whereas strengthening exercises on machines usually are performed to induce high level of muscle activation.
Purpose:
To compare muscle activation as measured by electromyography (EMG) of global core and thigh muscles during abdominal crunches performed on Swiss ball with elastic resistance or on an isotonic training machine when normalized for training intensity.
Methods:
42 untrained individuals (18 men and 24 women) aged 28–67 years participated in the study. EMG activity was measured in 13 muscles during 3 repetitions with a 10 RM load during both abdominal crunches on training ball with elastic resistance and in the same movement utilizing a training machine (seated crunch, Technogym, Cesena, Italy). The order of performance of the exercises was randomized, and EMG amplitude was normalized to maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) EMG.
Results:
When comparing between muscles, normalized EMG was highest in the rectus abdominis (P<0.01) and the external obliques (P<0.01). However, crunches on Swiss ball with elastic resistance showed higher activity of the rectus abdominis than crunches performed on the machine (104±3.8 vs 84±3.8% nEMG respectively, P<0.0001). By contrast, crunches performed on Swiss ball induced lower activity of the rectus femoris than crunches in training machine (27±3.7 vs 65±3.8% nEMG respectively, P<0.0001) Further, gender, age and musculoskeletal pain did not significantly influence the findings.
Conclusion:
Crunches on a Swiss ball with added elastic resistance induces high rectus abdominis activity accompanied by low hip flexor activity which could be beneficial for individuals with low back pain. In opposition, the lower rectus abdominis activity and higher rectus femoris activity observed in machine warrant caution for individuals with lumbar pain. Importantly, both men and women, younger and elderly, and individuals with and without pain benefitted equally from the exercises.
PMCID: PMC3414069  PMID: 22893857
abdominal crunch; elastic resistance; electromyographic activity; exercise ball

Results 1-2 (2)