Electromyography and Kinematics of the Trunk during Rowing in Elite Female Rowers

POLLOCK, COURTNEY L.1; JENKYN, THOMAS R.2,3,4; JONES, IAN C.2; IVANOVA, TANYA D.1; GARLAND, S. JAYNE1,5

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: March 2009 - Volume 41 - Issue 3 - pp 628-636
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31818c1300
Applied Sciences

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to characterize the EMG of trunk muscles together with kinematics of the pelvis and the spine of elite female rowers during the rowing stroke.

Methods: Nine Rowing Canada national team candidates performed a 2000-m race simulation. EMG activity of spinal and pelvic extensor and flexor muscles and kinematic data of the pelvis and the spine were collected and analyzed during the period of peak force production.

Results: During this period, pelvic and spinal extensor muscles demonstrated similarities in the timing of muscle activity with minimal coactivation of flexors and extensors. Minimal excursion of spinal segments occurred during the stroke with most of the extension occurring at the pelvis. Flexor activity occurred toward late drive, suggesting that trunk extension is slowed by increasing activity of the flexor muscles.

Conclusions: This study provides data of trunk kinematics and muscle recruitment patterns in elite female rowers. During the period of peak force production, there is minimal coactivation of trunk flexor and extensor muscles and, of the spinal segments, L3-S1 shows the most movement, which may make it more susceptible to soft tissue injury.

1School of Physical Therapy, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, CANADA; 2Wolf Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratory, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, CANADA; 3School of Kinesiology, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, CANADA; 4Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, CANADA; and 5Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, CANADA

Address for correspondence: S. Jayne Garland, Ph.D., P.T., School of Physical Therapy, Elborn College, University of Western Ontario, Rm 1588, London, ON, Canada N6G 1H1; Email: jgarland@uwo.ca

Submitted for publication May 2008.

Accepted for publication August 2008.

©2009The American College of Sports Medicine