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Bret Contreras, Andrew D. Vigotsky, Brad J. Schoenfeld, Chris Beardsley and John Cronin

The back squat and barbell hip thrust are both popular exercises used to target the lower body musculature; however, these exercises have yet to be compared. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare the surface electromyographic (EMG) activity of the upper and lower gluteus maximus, biceps femoris, and vastus lateralis between the back squat and barbell hip thrust. Thirteen trained women (n = 13; age = 28.9 years; height = 164 cm; mass = 58.2 kg) performed estimated 10-repetition maximums (RM) in the back squat and barbell hip thrust. The barbell hip thrust elicited significantly greater mean (69.5% vs 29.4%) and peak (172% vs 84.9%) upper gluteus maximus, mean (86.8% vs 45.4%) and peak (216% vs 130%) lower gluteus maximus, and mean (40.8% vs 14.9%) and peak (86.9% vs 37.5%) biceps femoris EMG activity than the back squat. There were no significant differences in mean (99.5% vs 110%) or peak (216% vs 244%) vastus lateralis EMG activity. The barbell hip thrust activates the gluteus maximus and biceps femoris to a greater degree than the back squat when using estimated 10RM loads. Longitudinal training studies are needed to determine if this enhanced activation correlates with increased strength, hypertrophy, and performance.

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John H. Hollman, Tyler A. Berling, Ellen O. Crum, Kelsie M. Miller, Brent T. Simmons and James W. Youdas

leading to anterior hip pain. 6 – 8 Sahrmann 9 proposed that when gluteus maximus strength is impaired, or when hamstring muscle recruitment is dominant during hip extension, anterior femoracetabular forces increase because the proximal femur translates anteriorly rather than maintaining a centralized

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James W. Youdas, Kady E. Adams, John E. Bertucci, Koel J. Brooks, Meghan M. Nelson and John H. Hollman

Context:

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.

Objective:

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.

Design:

Repeated measures.

Setting:

Laboratory.

Participants:

26 active and healthy people, 13 men (25 ± 3 y) and 13 women (24 ± 1 y).

Intervention:

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).

Results:

For the gluteus maximus an interaction between exercise and limb factor was significant (F 3,75 = 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 (F 3,75 = 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).

Conclusions:

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.

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John H. Hollman, Jeffrey M. Hohl, Jordan L. Kraft, Jeffrey D. Strauss and Katie J. Traver

Context:

Abnormal lower extremity kinematics during dynamic activities may be influenced by impaired gluteus maximus function.

Objective:

To examine whether hip-extensor strength and gluteus maximus recruitment are associated with dynamic frontal-plane knee motion during a jump-landing task.

Design:

Exploratory study.

Setting:

Biomechanics laboratory.

Participants:

40 healthy female volunteers.

Main Outcome Measures:

Isometric hip-extension strength was measured bilaterally with a handheld dynamometer. Three-dimensional hip and knee kinematics and gluteus maximus electromyography data were collected bilaterally during a jumplanding test. Data were analyzed with hierarchical linear regression and partial correlation coefficients (α = .05).

Results:

Hip motion in the transverse plane was highly correlated with knee motion in the frontal plane (partial r = .724). After controlling for hip motion, reduced magnitudes of isometric hip-extensor strength (partial r = .470) and peak gluteus maximus recruitment (partial r = .277) were correlated with increased magnitudes of knee valgus during the jump-landing task.

Conclusion:

Hip-extensor strength and gluteus maximus recruitment, which represents a measure of the muscle’s neuromuscular control, are both associated with frontal-plane knee motions during a dynamic weight-bearing task.

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Bret Contreras, Andrew D. Vigotsky, Brad J. Schoenfeld, Chris Beardsley and John Cronin

Bridging exercise variations are well researched and commonly employed for both rehabilitation and sport performance. However, resisted bridge exercise variations have not yet been compared in a controlled experimental study. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare the differences in upper and lower gluteus maximus, biceps femoris, and vastus lateralis electromyography (EMG) amplitude for the barbell, band, and American hip thrust variations. Thirteen healthy female subjects (age = 28.9 y; height = 164.3 cm; body mass = 58.2 kg) familiar with the hip thrust performed 10 repetitions of their 10-repetition maximum of each variation in a counterbalanced and randomized order. The barbell hip thrust variation elicited statistically greater mean gluteus maximus EMG amplitude than the American and band hip thrusts, and statistically greater peak gluteus maximus EMG amplitude than the band hip thrust (P ≤ .05), but no other statistical differences were observed. It is recommended that resisted bridging exercise be prescribed according to the individual’s preferences and desired outcomes.

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Bret Contreras, Andrew D. Vigotsky, Brad J. Schoenfeld, Chris Beardsley and John Cronin

Front, full, and parallel squats are some of the most popular squat variations. The purpose of this investigation was to compare mean and peak electromyography (EMG) amplitude of the upper gluteus maximus, lower gluteus maximus, biceps femoris, and vastus lateralis of front, full, and parallel squats. Thirteen healthy women (age = 28.9 ± 5.1 y; height = 164 ± 6.3 cm; body mass = 58.2 ± 6.4 kg) performed 10 repetitions of their estimated 10-repetition maximum of each respective variation. There were no statistical (P = .05) differences between full, front, and parallel squats in any of the tested muscles. Given these findings, it can be concluded that the front, full, or parallel squat can be performed for similar EMG amplitudes. However, given the results of previous research, it is recommended that individuals use a full range of motion when squatting, assuming full range can be safely achieved, to promote more favorable training adaptations. Furthermore, despite requiring lighter loads, the front squat may provide a similar training stimulus to the back squat.

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Shiho Goto, Naoko Aminaka and Phillip A. Gribble

and knee kinematics simultaneously, and the results are inconclusive. 15 , 16 Willson et al 15 demonstrated that delayed onset of the GMED and gluteus maximus (GMAX) is associated with greater hip adduction and internal rotation angles, respectively, in individuals with PFP during a running task

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Beth Norris and Elaine Trudelle-Jackson

Context:

The Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT) is often used to train and assess dynamic balance and neuromuscular control. Few studies have examined hip- and thigh-muscle activation during the SEBT.

Objective:

To quantify hip- and thigh-muscle activity during the SEBT.

Design:

Repeated measures.

Setting:

Laboratory.

Participants:

22 healthy individuals, 11 men and 11 women.

Methods:

EMG measurements were taken as participants completed 3 trials of the anterior (A), medial (M), and posteromedial (PM) reach directions of the SEBT.

Main Outcome Measures:

Mean EMG data (% maximal voluntary isometric contraction) from the gluteus medius (Gmed), gluteus maximus (Gmax), and vastus medialis (VM) were measured during the eccentric phase of each SEBT reach direction. Test–retest reliability of EMG data across the 3 trials in each direction was calculated. EMG data from each muscle were compared across the 3 reach directions.

Results:

Test–retest reliability ranged from ICC3,1 values of .91 to .99. A 2-way repeated-measure ANOVA revealed a significant interaction between muscle activation and reach direction. One-way ANOVAs showed no difference in GMed activity between the A and M directions. GMed activity in the A and M directions was greater than in the PM direction. There was no difference in GMax and VM activity across the 3 directions.

Conclusion:

GMed was recruited most effectively when reaching was performed in the A and M directions. The A, M, and PM directions elicited similar patterns of muscle recruitment for the GMax and VM. During all 3 SEBT directions, VM activation exceeded the 40–60% threshold suggested for strengthening effects. GMed activity also exceeded the threshold in the M direction. GMax activation, however, was below the 40% threshold for all 3 reach directions, suggesting that performing dynamic lower extremity reaching in the A, M, and PM directions may not elicit strengthening effects for the GMax.

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In-cheol Jeon, Oh-yun Kwon, Jong-hyuck Weon, Ui-jae Hwang and Sung-hoon Jung

Context:

Prone hip extension has been recommended for strengthening the back and hip muscles. Previous studies have investigated prone hip extension conducted with subjects on the floor in the prone position. However, no study has compared 3 different table hip-extension (THE) positions in terms of the activities of the back- and hip-joint muscles with lumbopelvic motion.

Objective:

To identify more effective exercises for strengthening the gluteus maximus (GM) by comparing 3 different exercises (THE alone, THE with the abdominal drawing-in maneuver [THEA], and THEA with chair support under the knee [THEAC]) based on electromyographic muscle activity and pelvic compensation.

Design:

Repeated-measure within-subject intervention.

Setting:

University research laboratory.

Participants:

16 healthy men.

Main Outcome Measures:

Surface electromyography (EMG) was used to obtain data on the GM, erector spinae (ES), multifidus, biceps femoris (BF), and semitendinosus (ST). Pelvic compensation was monitored using an electromagnetic motion-tracking device. Exertion during each exercise was recorded. Any significant difference in electromyographic muscle activity and pelvic motion among the 3 conditions (THE vs THEA vs THEAC) was assessed using a 1-way repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) with Bonferroni post hoc test.

Results:

The muscle activities recorded by EMG differed significantly among the 3 exercises (P < .01). GM activity was increased significantly during THEAC (P < .01). There was a significant difference in lumbopelvic kinematics in terms of anterior tilting (F = 19.49, P < .01) and rotation (F= 27.38, P < .01) among the 3 exercises.

Conclusions:

The THEAC exercise was the most effective for strengthening the GM without overactivity of the ES, BF, and ST muscles and lumbopelvic compensation compared with THE and THEA.

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Mark A. Sutherlin and Joseph M. Hart

Context:

Individuals with a history of low back pain (LBP) may present with decreased hip-abduction strength and increased trunk or gluteus maximus (GMax) fatigability. However, the effect of hip-abduction exercise on hip-muscle function has not been previously reported.

Objective:

To compare hip-abduction torque and muscle activation of the hip, thigh, and trunk between individuals with and without a history of LBP during repeated bouts of side-lying hip-abduction exercise.

Design:

Repeated measures.

Setting:

Clinical laboratory.

Participants:

12 individuals with a history of LBP and 12 controls.

Intervention:

Repeated 30-s hip-abduction contractions.

Main Outcome Measures:

Hip-abduction torque, normalized root-mean-squared (RMS) muscle activation, percent RMS muscle activation, and forward general linear regression.

Results:

Hip-abduction torque reduced in all participants as a result of exercise (1.57 ± 0.36 Nm/kg, 1.12 ± 0.36 Nm/kg; P < .001), but there were no group differences (F = 0.129, P = .723) or group-by-time interactions (F = 1.098, P = .358). All participants had increased GMax activation during the first bout of exercise (0.96 ± 1.00, 1.18 ± 1.03; P = .038). Individuals with a history of LBP had significantly greater GMax activation at multiple points during repeated exercise (P < .05) and a significantly lower percent of muscle activation for the GMax (P = .050) at the start of the third bout of exercise and for the biceps femoris (P = .039) at the end of exercise. The gluteal muscles best predicted hip-abduction torque in controls, while no consistent muscles were identified for individuals with a history of LBP.

Conclusions:

Hip-abduction torque decreased in all individuals after hip-abduction exercise, although individuals with a history of LBP had increased GMax activation during exercise. Gluteal muscle activity explained hip-abduction torque in healthy individuals but not in those with a history of LBP. Alterations in hip-muscle function may exist in individuals with a history of LBP.