The purpose of this study was to compare muscle activity, kinematic, and oxygen consumption characteristics between forward and reverse arm cranking. Twenty able-bodied men performed 5-min exercise bouts of forward and reverse arm cranking while electromyographic (EMG), kinematic, and oxygen consumption data were collected. EMG activity of biceps brachii, triceps brachii, deltoid, and infraspinatus muscles were recorded and analyzed to reflect on-time durations and amplitudes for each half-cycle (first 180° and second 180° of crank cycle). Kinematic data were quantified from digitization of video images, and oxygen consumption was calculated from expired gases. Dependent measures were analyzed with a MANOVA and follow-up univariate procedures; alpha was set at .01. The biceps brachii, deltoid, and infraspinatus muscles displayed greater on-time durations and amplitudes for select half-cycles of reverse arm cranking compared to forward arm cranking (p < 0.01). Peak wrist flexion was 9% less in reverse arm cranking (p < 0.01), and oxygen consumption values did not differ between conditions (p = 0.25). Although there were no differences in oxygen consumption and only minor differences kinematically, reverse arm cranking requires greater muscle activity from the biceps brachii, deltoid, and infraspinatus muscles. These results may allow clinicians to more effectively choose an arm cranking direction that either minimizes or maximizes upper extremity muscle activity depending on the treatment objectives.
Biomechanics Lab, HPER Department, 7000 Old Main Hill, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322
School of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO 80631.