EMG and strength in trunk and hip muscles
Abstract: The overall aim of this thesis was to study the myouelectric activity of all major muscles involved in the movements and stabilization of the trunk, pelvis and hips during training exercises, postures, motor tasks, maximal strength performance and locomotion. By use of ultra-sound, EMG electrodes could be guided safely and accurately into muscles situated even close to the spinal column, such as psoas, quadratus lumborum and deep parts of erector spinae. A task specific variation in activation levels were seen between muscle synergies, as well as between individual muscles within a synergy. Selective engagement of the abdominal muscles could be achieved in trunk flexion sit-ups, that is lifting only the upper trunk from the floor. An even higher activation of abdominal muscles was needed for static stabilization of the trunk and pelvis during hip flexion sit-ups, whereas single leg lifts were performed without involvement of the abdominal muscles. A selective activation of either the iliacus or psoas muscle was observed, for example in certain types of training exercises and in walking and running. Applying bending moments to the spine, resulted in a grading of the muscle activation response according to mechanical advantage, that is highest in the quadratus lumborum in lateral loading and in the superficial erector spinae in ventral loading. An exception was the most forward flexed position in standing where the superficial erector spinae "relaxed" but quadratus lumborum remained active. In general, the level of EMG in maximal efforts was maintained at the same high level irrespective of position in the range of motion, despite a marked variation in strength output. This position-dependency, as well as the strength values as such, varied in a specific way in groups of athletes, related to previous background. These data contribute to the understanding of muscle function and motor control of the trunk , pelvis and hips. They are also of relevance when evaluating and designing tests and training programs in rehabilitation and sport contexts as well as for improving biomechanical models of spinal loading.
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