Quadriceps EMG/force relationship in knee extension and leg press

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ALKNER, B. A., P. A. TESCH, and H. E. BERG. Quadriceps EMG/force relationship in knee extension and leg press. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 32, No. 2, pp. 459–463, 2000.Purpose:This study compared the relationship between surface electromyographic (EMG) activity and isometric force of m. quadriceps femoris (QF) in the single-joint knee extension (KE) and the multi-joint leg press (LP) exercises.Methods:Nine healthy men performed unilateral actions at a knee angle of 90° at 20, 40, 60, 80, and 100% of maximal voluntary contraction (MVC). EMG was measured from m. vastus lateralis (VL), m. vastus medialis (VM), m. rectus femoris (RF), and m. biceps femoris (BF).Results:There were no differences in maximum EMG activity of individual muscles between KE and LP. The QF EMG/force relationship was nonlinear in each exercise modality. VL showed no deviation from linearity in neither exercise, whereas VM and RF did. BF activity increased linearly with increased loads.Conclusions:The EMG/force relationship of all quadricep muscles studied appears to be similar in isometric multi-joint LP and single-joint KE actions at a knee angle of 90°. This would indicate the strategy of reciprocal force increment among muscles involved is comparable in the two models. Furthermore, these data suggest a nonuniform recruitment pattern among the three superficial QF muscles and surface EMG recordings from VL to be most reliable in predicting force output.

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