Send to

Choose Destination
Top Stroke Rehabil. 2017 May;24(4):242-249. doi: 10.1080/10749357.2016.1274466. Epub 2017 Jan 6.

Electromyographic comparison of conventional machine strength training versus bodyweight exercises in patients with chronic stroke.

Author information

a National Research Centre for the Working Environment , Copenhagen , Denmark.
c Physical Activity and Human Performance, SMI, Department of Health Science and Technology , Aalborg University , Aalborg , Denmark.
b Laboratory of Physical Activity and Health, Department of Physical Education and Sports , University of Valencia , Valencia , Spain.
d Center for Rehabilitation of Brain Injury , University of Copenhagen , Copenhagen , Denmark.



To investigate whether bodyweight exercises can induce comparable levels of muscle activity as conventional machine exercises in chronic stroke patients.


Eighteen patients performed three repetitions of bilateral- and unilateral machine leg press and the bodyweight exercises chair rise and hip thrust. Surface electromyography (EMG) was recorded from 10 lower extremity muscles and normalized to maximal EMG (nEMG) of the non-paretic leg.


For the paretic leg, the bodyweight exercises showed comparable levels of nEMG in 6 out of 10 muscles compared with the bilateral leg press. Vastus lateralis nEMG was higher during bilateral leg press compared with hip thrust (38% [95% CI 33-42] vs. 10% [95% CI 6-15], p < 0.0001) and chair rise (38% [95% CI 33-42] vs. 27% [95% CI 22-32], p < 0.0001). Vastus medialis nEMG was higher during bilateral leg press compared with hip thrust (34% [95%CI 27-40] vs. 8% [95% CI 2-15], p < 0.0001). Unilateral leg press showed higher nEMG compared with bilateral leg press in biceps femoris (28% [95% CI 23-34] vs. 19% [95% CI 13-24], p = 0.0009), gluteus maximus (32% [95% CI 23-41] vs. 25% [95% CI 16-34], p < 0.05), and vastus medialis (42% [95% CI 36-48] vs. 34% [95% CI 27-40], p = 0.0013).


In patients with chronic stroke, bodyweight exercises activate the majority of the lower limb muscles to comparable levels as bilateral leg press performed in machine. In addition, unilateral leg press was superior to the bilateral leg press and both bodyweight exercises.


Electromyography; bodyweight; leg press; physical therapy; rehabilitation; resistance training; stroke

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Taylor & Francis
Loading ...
Support Center