Electromyographic analysis of gluteus maximus and hamstring activity during the supine resisted hip extension exercise versus supine unilateral bridge to neutral.Physiother Theory Pract. 2017 Feb; 33(2):124-130.PT
Hip extension strengthening exercises which maximize gluteus maximus contributions and minimize hamstring influences may be beneficial for persons with hip pain. This study's aim was to compare muscle activation of the gluteus maximus and hamstrings from healthy subjects during a supine resisted hip extension exercise versus supine unilateral bridge to neutral. Surface electromyographic (EMG) signals were obtained from the right gluteus maximus and hamstrings in 13 healthy male and 13 healthy female subjects. Maximum voluntary isometric contractions (MVICs) were collected to normalize data and permit meaningful comparisons across muscles. Peak median activation of the gluteus maximus was 33.8% MVIC for the bridge and 34.7% MVIC for the hip extension exercise, whereas peak median recruitment for hamstrings was 28.4% MVIC for the bridge and 51% MVIC for the hip extension exercise. The gluteus maximus to hamstrings ratio was compared between the two exercises using the Wilcoxon signed-ranks test (α = 0.05). The ratio (p = 0.014) was greater in the supine unilateral bridge (median = 111.3%) than supine hip extension exercise (median = 59.2%), suggesting a reduction of hamstring recruitment in the unilateral bridge to neutral compared to the supine resisted hip extension exercise. The supine hip extension exercise demonstrated higher EMG activity of hamstrings in comparison with supine unilateral bridge and, therefore, may be less appropriate in subjects who need to increase gluteus maximus activation.