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The Effects of Nordic Walking and Slope of the Ground on Lower Limb Muscle Activity

Psurny, Martin1; Svoboda, Zdenek1; Janura, Miroslav1; Kubonova, Eliska1; Bizovska, Lucia1; Martinez Lemos, Rodolfo Ivan2; Abrantes, Joao3

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: January 2018 - Volume 32 - Issue 1 - p 217–222
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002195
Original Research

Psurny, M, Svoboda, Z, Janura, M, Kubonova, E, Bizovska, L, Martinez Lemos, RI, and Abrantes, J. The effects of Nordic walking and slope of the ground on lower limb muscle activity. J Strength Cond Res 32(1): 217–222, 2018—Nordic walking (NW) has proven to be a simple and safe mode of exercise that can be used in various types of sport, recreation, and rehabilitation activities. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of Nordic walking and slope of the ground on lower limb muscle activity. The experimental group consisted of 22 healthy men (aged 22.8 ± 1.4 years). The subjects walked on a treadmill at a self-selected speed. Two walking conditions (NW and walking) and 2 ground slopes (level ground and uphill walking at an 8% incline) were used. The surface electromyographic signals of the gastrocnemius lateralis, tibialis anterior, vastus medialis, rectus femoris, biceps femoris and gluteus medius were recorded. Nordic walking resulted in increased activity of some lower limb muscles, particularly during the first half of the stance phase, and decreased muscle activity during the first half of the swing phase. Uphill walking elicited increased muscle activity compared with level walking, particularly during the stance phase and the second half of the swing phase during both walking and NW, and the change was more pronounced during walking. We concluded that NW increased muscle activity in the lower extremities compared with walking, particularly on level ground. Increasing the ground slope enhanced the muscle activity to a much greater extent than NW.

1Faculty of Physical Culture, Palacky University Olomouc, Olomouc, Czech Republic;

2Faculty of Education and Sport Sciences, University of Vigo, Pontevedra, Spain; and

3MovLab, CICANT, Lusofona University of Humanities and Technology, Lisbon, Portugal

Address correspondence to Zdenek Svoboda,

Copyright © 2018 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.