Muscle Activation Patterns of the Proximal Medial and Distal Biceps Femoris and Gluteus Maximus Among 6 Hip Extension and Knee Flexion Exercises in Trained Women.Int J Exerc Sci. 2022; 15(1):1179-1189.IJ
The biceps femoris (BF) is a double-jointed muscle that performs both hip extension and knee flexion, making it a challenging muscle to train during common resistance training movements. An imbalance between the posterior and anterior chain increases the risk of lower-extremity injury. The purpose of this study was to compare BF proximal (BFprox), BF medial (BFmed), and BF distal (BFdist) peak and mean muscle activation among four hip hinging movements and two knee flexion movements. A secondary variable was gluteus maximus (GMax) muscle activation among the same six movements. Fifteen trained females completed three repetitions at 75% estimated 1-repetition max among the following exercises: Romanian-deadlift (RDL), step-up, hip-extension, kickbacks, Nordic hamstring curls (Nordics), and legcurls. Repetition voltage was normalized to percent maximal voluntary isometric contractions. Eight separate one-way repeated measures ANOVAs with Sidak post hoc analysis indicated the BFprox elicited greater voltage in the kickback, Nordic, and leg-curl exercise compared to the RDL, step-up and hip-extension (p < 0.05), BFmed voltage was higher in the hip-extension, kickback, Nordic, and leg-curl vs. the step-up and RDL (p < 0.05), BFdist voltage was greater during the kickback, Nordic, and leg-curl exercise vs. the RDL, step-up and hip-extension (p < 0.05), while the GMax elicited the lowest voltage during the leg-curl vs. the other five exercises (p < 0.05). All eight ANOVAs reached statistical significance (p < 0.01). The Nordic exercises consistently elicited the highest voltage among the six exercises. Coaches, trainers, and therapist can use these findings to target different aspects of the BF for training purposes and hamstring injury management.