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Muscle Activity during Functional Coordination Training: Implications for Strength Gain and Rehabilitation

Jørgensen, Marie B1; Andersen, Lars L1; Kirk, Niels1; Pedersen, Mogens T2; Søgaard, Karen3; Holtermann, Andreas1

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: July 2010 - Volume 24 - Issue 7 - pp 1732-1739
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181ddf6b5
Original Research

Jørgensen, MB, Andersen, LL, Kirk, N, Pedersen, MT, Søgaard, K, and Holtermann, A. Muscle activity during functional coordination training: implications for strength gain and rehabilitation. J Strength Cond Res 24(7): 1732-1739, 2010-The purpose of this study was to evaluate if different types, body positions, and levels of progression of functional coordination exercises can provide sufficiently high levels of muscle activity to improve strength of the neck, shoulder, and trunk muscles. Nine untrained women were familiarized with 7 functional coordination exercises 12 times during 4 weeks before testing. Surface electromyographic (EMG) activity was obtained from rectus abdominus, erector spinae, obliquus externus, and trapezius during the exercises with 2-4 levels of progression. Electromyography was normalized to the maximal EMG activity during maximal voluntary contractions, and a p value < 0.05 was considered significant. All recorded muscles reached sufficiently high levels of activity during the coordination exercises for strength gain (>60% of maximal EMG activity). Type of exercise played a significant role for the attained muscle activity. Body position during the exercises was important for the activity of the erector spinae, and level of progression was important for the activity of the trapezius. The findings indicate that depending on type, body position, and level of progression, functional coordination training can be performed with a muscle activity sufficient for strength gain. Functional coordination training may therefore be a good choice for prevention or rehabilitation of musculoskeletal pain or injury in the neck, shoulder, or trunk muscles.

1National Research Center for the Working Environment, Copenhagen, Denmark; 2Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark; and 3Research Unit for Musculoskeletal Function and Physiotherapy, Institute of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark

Address correspondence to Andreas Holtermann, aho@nrcwe.dk.

© 2010 National Strength and Conditioning Association