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Denys Batista Campos, Isabella Christina Ferreira, Matheus Almeida Souza, Macquiden Amorim Jr, Leonardo Intelangelo, Gabriela Silveira-Nunes, and Alexandre Carvalho Barbosa

Objective: To examine the selective influences of distinct acceleration profiles on the neuromuscular efficiency, force, and power during concentric and eccentric phases of isoinertial squatting exercise. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Biomechanics laboratory of the university. Participants: A total of 38 active adults were divided according to their acceleration profiles: higher (n = 17; >2.5 m/s2) and lower acceleration group (n = 21; <2.5 m/s2). Intervention: All subjects performed squats until failure attached to an isoinertial conic pulley device monitored by surface electromyography of rectus femoris, vastus medialis, vastus lateralis, biceps femoris, and semitendinosus. Main Outcome Measures: An incremental optical encoder was used to assess maximal and mean power and force during concentric and eccentric phases. The neuromuscular efficiency was calculated using the mean force and the electromyographic linear envelope. Results: Between-group differences were observed for the maximal and mean force (P range = .001–.005), power (P = .001), and neuromuscular efficiency (P range = .001–.03) with higher significant values for the higher acceleration group in both concentric and eccentric phases. Conclusion: Distinct acceleration profiles affect the neuromuscular efficiency, force, and power during concentric and eccentric phases of isoinertial squatting exercise. To ensure immediate higher levels of power and force output without depriving the neuromuscular system, acceleration profiles higher than 2.5 m/s2 are preferable. The acceleration profiles could be an alternative to evolve the isoinertial exercise.

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Kyung-eun Lee, Seung-min Baik, Chung-hwi Yi, Oh-yun Kwon, and Heon-seock Cynn

Context: Side bridge exercises strengthen the hip, trunk, and abdominal muscles and challenge the trunk muscles without the high lumbar compression associated with trunk extension or curls. Previous research using electromyography (EMG) reports that performance of the side bridge exercise highly activates the gluteus medius (Gmed). However, to the best of our knowledge, no previous research has investigated EMG amplitude in the hip and trunk muscles during side bridge exercise in subjects with Gmed weakness. Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the EMG activity of the hip and trunk muscles during 3 variations of the side bridge exercise (side bridge, side bridge with knee flexion, and side bridge with knee flexion and hip abduction of the top leg) in subjects with Gmed weakness. Design: Repeated-measures experimental design. Setting: Research laboratory. Patients: Thirty subjects (15 females and 15 males) with Gmed weakness participated in this study. Intervention: Each subject performed 3 variations of the side bridge exercise in random order. Main Outcome Measures: Surface EMG was used to measure the muscle activities of the rectus abdominis, external oblique, longissimus thoracis, multifidus, Gmed, gluteus maximus, and tensor fasciae latae (TFL), and Gmed/TFL muscle activity ratio during 3 variations of the side bridge exercise. Results: There were significant differences in Gmed (F2,56 = 110.054, P < .001), gluteus maximus (F2,56 = 36.416, P < .001), and TFL (F2,56 = 108.342, P < .001) muscles among the 3 side bridge exercises. There were significant differences in the Gmed/TFL muscle ratio (F2,56 = 20.738, P < .001). Conclusion: Among 3 side bridge exercises, the side bridge with knee flexion may be effective for the individuals with Gmed weakness among 3 side bridge exercises to strengthen the gluteal muscles, considering the difficulty of the exercise and relative contribution of Gmed and TFL.

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Bruno Augusto Lima Coelho, Helena Larissa das Neves Rodrigues, Gabriel Peixoto Leão Almeida, and Sílvia Maria Amado João

Context: Restriction in ankle dorsiflexion range of motion (ROM) has been previously associated with excessive dynamic knee valgus. This, in turn, has been correlated with knee pain in women with patellofemoral pain. Objectives: To investigate the immediate effect of 3 ankle mobilization techniques on dorsiflexion ROM, dynamic knee valgus, knee pain, and patient perceptions of improvement in women with patellofemoral pain and ankle dorsiflexion restriction. Design: Randomized controlled trial with 3 arms. Setting: Biomechanics laboratory. Participants: A total of 117 women with patellofemoral pain who display ankle dorsiflexion restriction were divided into 3 groups: ankle mobilization with anterior tibia glide (n = 39), ankle mobilization with posterior tibia glide (n = 39), and ankle mobilization with anterior and posterior tibia glide (n = 39). Intervention(s): The participants received a single session of ankle mobilization with movement technique. Main Outcome Measures: Dorsiflexion ROM (weight-bearing lunge test), dynamic knee valgus (frontal plane projection angle), knee pain (numeric pain rating scale), and patient perceptions of improvement (global perceived effect scale). The outcome measures were collected at the baseline, immediate postintervention (immediate reassessment), and 48 hours postintervention (48 h reassessment). Results: There were no significant differences between the 3 treatment groups regarding dorsiflexion ROM and patient perceptions of improvement. Compared with mobilization with anterior and posterior tibia glide, mobilization with anterior tibia glide promoted greater increase in dynamic knee valgus (P = .02) and greater knee pain reduction (P = .02) at immediate reassessment. Also compared with mobilization with anterior and posterior tibia glide, mobilization with posterior tibia glide promoted greater knee pain reduction (P < .01) at immediate reassessment. Conclusion: In our sample, the direction of the tibia glide in ankle mobilization accounted for significant changes only in dynamic knee valgus and knee pain in the immediate reassessment.

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Arthur Alves Dos Santos, James Sorce, Alexandra Schonning, and Grant Bevill

This study evaluated the performance of 6 commercially available hard hat designs—differentiated by shell design, number of suspension points, and suspension tightening system—in regard to their ability to attenuate accelerations during vertical impacts to the head. Tests were conducted with impactor materials of steel, wood, and lead shot (resembling commonly seen materials in a construction site), weighing 1.8 and 3.6 kg and dropped from 1.83 m onto a Hybrid III head/neck assembly. All hard hats appreciably reduced head acceleration to the unprotected condition. However, neither the addition of extra suspension points nor variations in suspension tightening mechanism appreciably influenced performance. Therefore, these results indicate that additional features available in current hard hat designs do not improve protective capacity as related to head acceleration metrics.

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Alon Rabin, Brakha R. Tabi, Timothy L. Uhl, and Zvi Kozol

Context: Decreased scapular upward rotation (UR) and diminished activation of the serratus anterior (SA) and lower trapezius (LT) are often observed among patients with subacromial impingement syndrome. Maintaining the elbow fully flexed during shoulder flexion may limit glenohumeral motion due to passive insufficiency of the triceps brachii and therefore facilitate greater scapular UR and increased scapular muscle activation. Objectives: To compare scapular UR, SA, upper trapezius (UT), middle trapezius, and LT activation levels between shoulder flexion with the elbow extended (Flexion-EE) to shoulder flexion with the elbow fully flexed (Flexion-EF). This study hypothesized that Flexion-EF would result in greater scapular UR, greater SA and LT activation, and a lower UT/SA and UT/LT activation ratio compared with Flexion-EE. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: A clinical biomechanics laboratory. Participants: Twenty-two healthy individuals. Main Outcome Measures: Scapular UR and electromyography signal of the SA, UT, middle trapezius, and LT, as well as UT/SA and UT/LT activation ratio were measured during Flexion-EE and Flexion-EF. Results: Flexion-EF resulted in greater scapular UR compared with Flexion-EE (P < .001). Flexion-EF resulted in greater SA activation, lower UT activation, and a lower UT/SA activation ratio compared with Flexion-EE (P < .001). Conclusions: Fully flexing the elbow during shoulder flexion leads to increased scapular UR primarily through greater activation of the SA. This exercise may be of value in circumstances involving diminished scapular UR, decreased activation of the SA, and an overly active UT such as among patients with subacromial impingement syndrome.

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Andrea Biscarini, Roberto Panichi, Cristina V. Dieni, and Samuele Contemori

A biomechanical model has been developed to assess the effects of a voluntary effort of quadriceps–hamstring cocontraction on tibiofemoral force during isometric knee flexion and knee extension exercises with constant external resistance. The model establishes the analytic condition in the moment arms and traction angles of the quadriceps and hamstring muscles that determines the direction (anterior/posterior) of the tibiofemoral shear force developed by the cocontraction. This model also establishes the mechanical effect (loading/unloading) on the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). At about 15° of knee flexion (where the ACL experiences its maximum quadriceps-induced strain) a voluntary quadriceps–hamstring cocontraction effort yields: (1) nearly the same enhancement in hamstring and quadriceps activation, (2) an increase in hamstring force about 1.5 times higher than that of the quadriceps, and (3) posterior (ACL unloading) tibial pull and compressive tibiofemoral force that increase linearly with the level of quadriceps and hamstring activation. The sensitivity of the results to intersubject variability in the posterior slope of the tibial plateau and muscle moment arms has been estimated with the use of anatomic data available in the literature. An anterior (ACL loading) tibial pull is actually developed at 15° of knee flexion by a voluntary effort of quadriceps–hamstring cocontraction as the posterior tibial slope exceeds 14°.

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Bruno G. Straiotto, David P. Cook, Darren C. James, and P. John Seeley

Patterns of interjoint coordination in the kicking legs of taekwondo players were investigated to understand movement pattern variability as a functional property of skill level. Elite and nonelite players performed roundhouse kicks against a custom-built moving target fitted with an accelerometer, and movements were recorded by motion capture. Average foot segment velocities of 13.6 and 11.4 m/s were recorded for elite and nonelite players, respectively (P < .05), corresponding to target accelerations of 87.5 and 70.8g (P < .05). Gradient values derived from piecewise linear regression of continuous relative phase curves established the comparative incoordination of nonelite taekwondo players in the form of an overshoot behavior during the crucial period leading to target impact (P < .05). This overshoot was apparent in both knee–hip and ankle–knee continuous relative phase curves. Elite players generated greater limb speed and impact force through more effective limb segment coordination. The combination of continuous relative phase and piecewise linear regression techniques allowed identification of alternate joint control approaches in the 2 groups.