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J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2013 Dec;23(6):1499-504. doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2013.07.012. Epub 2013 Aug 13.

Effects of training and weight support on muscle activation in Parkinson's disease.

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Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark. Electronic address:


The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of high-intensity locomotor training on knee extensor and flexor muscle activation and adaptability to increased body-weight (BW) support during walking in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). Thirteen male patients with idiopathic PD and eight healthy participants were included. The PD patients completed an 8-week training program on a lower-body, positive-pressure treadmill. Knee extensor and flexor muscles activation during steady treadmill walking (3 km/h) were measured before, at the mid-point, and after training. Increasing BW support decreased knee extensor muscle activation (normalization) and increased knee flexor muscle activation (abnormal) in PD patients when compared to healthy participants. Training improved flexor peak muscle activation adaptability to increased (BW) support during walking in PD patients. During walking without BW support shorter knee extensor muscle off-activation time and increased relative peak muscle activation was observed in PD patients and did not improve with 8 weeks of training. In conclusion, patients with PD walked with excessive activation of the knee extensor and flexor muscles when compared to healthy participants. Specialized locomotor training may facilitate adaptive processes related to motor control of walking in PD patients.


Body-weight support; EMG; Motor control; Parkinson’s disease; Rehabilitation

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