An electromyographic study of the vastii muscles during open and closed kinetic chain submaximal isometric exercises.

Spairani, Lorenzo and Barbero, Marco and Cescon, Corrado and Combi, Federico and Gemelli, Tiziano and Giovanetti, Giuseppe and Magnani, Bruno and D'Antona, Giuseppe (2012) An electromyographic study of the vastii muscles during open and closed kinetic chain submaximal isometric exercises. International journal of sports physical therapy, 7 (6). pp. 617-626. ISSN 2159-2896

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BACKGROUND:Rehabilitation programs for patients with patellofemoral dysfunction aim to recruit the vastus medialis obliquus muscle (VMO) in an attempt to reduce pain and to improve patellar tracking. OBJECTIVES:The aim of the present study was to use surface EMG to assess the effectiveness of two isometric submaximal contractions (10% and 60% of maximal voluntary contraction, MVC) in promoting preferential activation of VMO over vastus medialis longus (VML) and vastus lateralis (VL) in open and closed kinetic chain isometric exercises with the knee joint fixed at 30, 60 and 90 degrees of flexion. METHODS AND MEASURES:Surface electromyography (EMG) signals were recorded with linear adhesive arrays of four electrodes from fourteen healthy young men (age 23.5±3.2, mean±SD) during isometric knee extension contractions at 10% and 60% of the maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) for 1 min and 20 s respectively at 30, 60 and 90 degrees of knee flexion. Initial values and rate of change (slope) of mean frequency (MNF), average rectified value (ARV) and conduction velocity (CV) of the EMG signal were calculated. RESULTS:Comparisons between the force levels produced at 10% and 60% MVC revealed that the initial values of ARV and CV for the VL, VML and VMO muscle were greater at 60% MVC compared to 10% MVC (3-way ANOVA; F=536; p<0.001, F=49: p<0.01 for ARV and CV respectively). Comparisons between the different muscles demonstrated lower initial values of CV for VMO compared to VL and VLM at 10% and 60% of MVC (F=15; p<0.05). In addition, initial estimates of ARV were higher for VMO compared to VML at both force levels (F=66; p<0.05). Comparisons between open and closed kinetic chain exercises revealed higher initial estimates of ARV for open kinetic chain knee extension at both force levels (F=62; p<0.01). In addition, the absolute value of MNF slope appeared to increase at higher angles for closed kinetic chain at 60% MVC while it was minimum at 60° degrees for open kinetic chain. No significant differences were observed in the rate of change of CV and MNF among the three muscles. CONCLUSIONS:Based on the results of this study, both open and closed kinetic chain exercise similarly activate the three portions of the quadriceps muscle, suggesting that selective training of the vastii muscle is not achievable in these conditions.

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