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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009 Mar;41(3):628-36. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31818c1300.

Electromyography and kinematics of the trunk during rowing in elite female rowers.

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  • 1School of Physical Therapy, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.



The purpose of this study was to characterize the EMG of trunk muscles together with kinematics of the pelvis and the spine of elite female rowers during the rowing stroke.


Nine Rowing Canada national team candidates performed a 2000-m race simulation. EMG activity of spinal and pelvic extensor and flexor muscles and kinematic data of the pelvis and the spine were collected and analyzed during the period of peak force production.


During this period, pelvic and spinal extensor muscles demonstrated similarities in the timing of muscle activity with minimal coactivation of flexors and extensors. Minimal excursion of spinal segments occurred during the stroke with most of the extension occurring at the pelvis. Flexor activity occurred toward late drive, suggesting that trunk extension is slowed by increasing activity of the flexor muscles.


This study provides data of trunk kinematics and muscle recruitment patterns in elite female rowers. During the period of peak force production, there is minimal coactivation of trunk flexor and extensor muscles and, of the spinal segments, L3-S1 shows the most movement, which may make it more susceptible to soft tissue injury.

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