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J Phys Ther Sci. 2018 Apr;30(4):642-648. doi: 10.1589/jpts.30.642. Epub 2018 Apr 20.

Electromyographic activity of selected trunk, core, and thigh muscles in commonly used exercises for ACL rehabilitation.

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School of Health Sciences, Liverpool Hope University: Hope Park, Liverpool L16 9JD, UK.


[Purpose] Most of rehabilitation programmes for Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury focus on quadriceps-hamstrings activation imbalances and less is known about kinetically linked muscles. This study investigated electromyographic activity of selected trunk, core, and thigh muscles during common rehabilitation exercises for ACL injury. [Subjects and Methods] Twelve active female volunteers participated in this cross-sectional laboratory study. Surface EMG was used to compare activation of eight trunk, hip/core, and lower limb muscles: Erector Spinae (ES), Rectus Abdominis (RA), Gluteus Maximus (GM), Vastus Lateralis (VL), Rectus Femoris (RF), Vastus Medialis (VM), Biceps Femoris (BF), and Semitendinosus (ST) during Forward Lunge, Double Leg Raise, Glute Bridge, Sit-Up, and Squat. [Results] Forward lunge produced significantly higher activation in the VM (61.1 ± 19.4), VL (59.2 ± 12.9), and RF (32.0 ± 2.6). Double leg raise generated highest activity in the RF (26.6 ± 2.8) and RA (43.3 ± 4.4); and Glute Bridge in the GM (44.5 ± 19.0) and BF (22.4 ± 4.3). Sit-up produced the highest activation in the RF (36.6 ± 4.7) followed by RA (18.9 ± 3.8). Squat produced a higher activation in VL (55.0 ± 12.9), VM (51.5 ± 18.2), and ES (40.4 ± 18.3). [Conclusion] This study provide further evidence for developing training programmes for ACL injury prevention and rehabilitation. A combination of exercises to reinstate quadriceps-hamstrings activation balance and enhance core stability is recommended.


Activation balance; Electromyography; Neuromuscular function

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