[CRAB WALKS - HOW TO GET THE MOST ACTIVATION]
AIM: To investigate differences in muscle-activation and movement patterns and determine kinematic and limb specific differences between men and women during resisted side stepping with 3 resistive-band positions.
22 participants (11 M;11 W) were included in this single-session, repeated-measures laboratory-based study design in which all participants performed resisted side stepping with an elastic band positioned around 1 of 3 locations (knees, ankles, or feet) while data were collected for each limb (moving, stance).
Muscle-activity data were obtained using a surface electromyography (EMG) system over the bellies of the gluteus maximus, posterior portion of the gluteus medius, and TFL bilaterally. MVIC contractions were performed to test electrode position.
With the band around 1 of 3 locations, participants stood with each foot aligned with the sides of a 12-in square floor tile. They were then instructed to step laterally to next floor tile so that the distance between feet was 24 inches. And then shifting the trailing limb laterally to bring the gap back to a 12 inch floor tile.
EMG of gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and tensor fascia lata (TFL) for the moving and stance limbs during the concentric and eccentric phases.
Trunk inclination, hip and knee flexion, and hip-abduction excursion was also measured.
Side stepping in the squat position with a resistive band placed around the feet elicited more activity in the gluteal muscles without increasing activity in the tensor fascia lata muscle compared with a resistive band placed around the ankles.
Gluteal muscle activation (both maximus and medius) increased as the bands were lower from around the knees down to the ankle and then down around the midfoot. This was in both concentric and eccentric phases. The increase was evident in both males and females however the percentage of change varied between gender.
Trunk inclination, hip-flexion angle, and hip-abduction excursion were greater in women than in men.
From this we can deduce that placing the band around the feet will give the best activation/recruitment of the gluteal muscles. But what does this mean for the other variations? Are they wrong? Should you use them as well?
The answer is YES. I’ve seen it with a lot of patients that when placing the band around the feet, they lack the ability to perform the exercise with sound technique. But can manage to perform the exercise when the back is at knee level. Makes sense when we look at the data - the glutes have to work harder.
Use these variations as progressions! Depending on the individual you may start the exercise at the knee/ankle/feet and then progress the exercise either by altering the location of the band and/or the resistance of the band.
This study does have it’s limitation such as the small sample size. Thus a larger study would give us better data on the differences of activation as well gender differences.
Hip-Muscle Activity in Men and Women During Resisted Side Stepping With Different Band Positions - Lewis et al. (2018)
Adrian - Freshman Physio
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