Reciprocal coactivation patterns of the medial and lateral quadriceps and hamstrings during slow, medium and high speed isokinetic movements


The effect of movement velocity and fatigue on the reciprocal coactivation of the quadriceps and hamstrings was investigated through analysis of the root mean square (RMS) and the median frequency (MDF) of surface electromyography for the vastus medialis (VM), vastus lateralis (VL), medial hamstrings (MH) and biceps femoris (BF). Fourteen subjects performed six continuous isokinetic knee extension and flexion movements at 60 degrees, 180 degrees and 300 degrees s(-1), and 30 continuous movements at 300 degrees s(-1) to examine muscular fatigue patterns. Statistical analyses revealed that the RMS activity of the VM displayed greater coactivation than the VL (P<0.01) and the BF displayed greater coactivation than the MH (P<0.0001). There was no effect of velocity on the coactivation levels of the VM, the VL, or the MH; however, there was an effect of velocity on the coactivation levels of the BF (P<0.0001). Relative to MDF activity, the MH shifted upward as velocity increased (P<0.01) while the BF decreased between 180 and 300 degrees s(-1) (P<0.01). Results of the muscular fatigue test indicated that the RMS activity of the VM showed a higher degree of coactivation a than the VL (P<0.01) and the BF showed approximately three times the coactivation level of the Mn (P<0.001). The MDF of the VL and MH shifted downward as the repetitions progressed (P<0.01) with no changes for the VM or for the BF. Results of this study suggest that during isokinetic testing, both the VM and BF have significantly greater reciprocal coactivation levels when compared to the VL and MH, respectively. In addition, these results suggest that motor unit recruitment patterns of the VM and VL and the MH and BF differ with regard to the effects of velocity and fatigue. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.



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Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology


Elsevier, Inc.

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Copyright © 2000, Elsevier