The purpose of this study was to investigate the electromyographic (EMG) activity of selected lower limb muscles during forward- and backward-facing stair-stepping exercises using a hydraulic step ergometer and during step aerobics using a standard 8 in. high step. Surface electrodes recorded EMG data from the vastus lateralis (VL), vastus medialis obliquus (VMO), and biceps femoris (BF) muscles on the right lower limbs of 13 healthy subjects under each of the four exercise conditions. Normalized mean EMG amplitude data were used to test for activity-dependent differences. Results indicated that (a) the VL and VMO were significantly (p < .05) more active during step ergometry than during step aerobics, (b) the BF was significantly (p < .05) more active during step aerobics than during step ergometry, and (c) when forward- versus backward-facing positions were compared, there were no statistically significant differences in mean EMG activity for either of the activities. These findings provide information relevant to the use and progression of stepping exercises commonly used for knee muscle strengthening and knee injury rehabilitation programs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation