Coactivation ratio of quadriceps to hamstring muscles (Q:H) and medial to lateral knee muscles (M:L) contributes to the dynamic stability of the knee joint during movement patterns recommended during rehabilitation and important for daily function.
To compare the quadriceps-to-hamstring and medial-to-lateral knee muscles' coactivation ratios between men and women during the following closed kinetic chain exercises performed on a balance board: forward lunge, side lunge, single-leg stance, and single-leg squat.
20 healthy subjects (10 female and 10 male).
Main Outcome Measures:
Surface electromyography was used to measure the activation level of quadriceps (vastus lateralis and medialis) and hamstrings (biceps femoris and medial hamstrings) during forward- and side-lunge, single-leg-stance, and single-leg-squat exercises. Subjects were instructed during each exercise to move into the test position and to hold that position for 15 s. EMG was recorded during the 15-s isometric period where subjects tried to maintain a “set” position while the foot was on a balance board. Analysis of variance was used for statistical analysis.
There was a significant exercise-by-gender interaction for Q:H ratio (F 3,48 = 6.63, P = .001), but the exercise-by-gender interaction for M:L ratio was not significant (F 3,48 = 1.67, P = .18). Women showed larger Q:H ratio in side-lunge exercises than men (P = .002). Both genders showed larger M:L and lower Q:H ratio in a single-leg-stance exercise than in the other exercises.
The results indicate that the forward- and side-lunge and single-leg-squat exercises should not be recommended as exercise where a balanced coactivation between quadriceps and hamstring muscles is warranted. Single-leg-stance exercise could be used when seeking an exercise where the ratio is balanced for both women and men.