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No published studies have compared muscle activation levels simultaneously for the gluteus maximus and medius muscles of stance and moving limbs during standing hip-joint strengthening while using elastic-tubing resistance.
To quantify activation levels bilaterally of the gluteus maximus and medius during resisted lower-extremity standing exercises using elastic tubing for the cross-over, reverse cross-over, front-pull, and back-pull exercise conditions.
26 active and healthy people, 13 men (25 ± 3 y) and 13 women (24 ± 1 y).
Subjects completed 3 consecutive repetitions of lower-extremity exercises in random order.
Main Outcome Measures:
Surface electromyographic (EMG) signals were normalized to peak activity in the maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) trial and expressed as a percentage. Magnitudes of EMG recruitment were analyzed with a 2 × 4 repeated-measures ANOVA for each muscle (α = .05).
For the gluteus maximus an interaction between exercise and limb factor was significant (F3,75 = 21.5; P < .001). The moving-limb gluteus maximus was activated more than the stance limb's during the back-pull exercise (P < .001), and moving-limb gluteus maximus muscle recruitment was greater for the back-pull exercise than for the cross-over, reverse cross-over, and front-pull exercises (P < .001). For the gluteus medius an interaction between exercise and limb factor was significant (F3,75 = 3.7; P < .03). Gluteus medius muscle recruitment (% MVIC) was greater in the stance limb than moving limb when performing the front-pull exercise (P < .001). Moving-limb gluteus medius muscle recruitment was greater for the reverse cross-over exercise than for the cross-over, front-pull, and back-pull exercises (P < .001).
From a clinical standpoint there is no therapeutic benefit to selectively activate the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius muscles on the stance limb by resisting sagittal- and frontal-plane hip movements on the moving limb using resistance supplied by elastic tubing.
The authors are with the Program in Physical Therapy, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.