Timing and Modulation of Activity in the Lower Limb Muscles During Indoor Rowing: What Are the Key Muscles to Target in FES-Rowing Protocols?
The transcutaneous stimulation of lower limb muscles during indoor rowing (FES Rowing) has led to a new sport and recreation and significantly increased health benefits in paraplegia. Stimulation is often delivered to quadriceps and hamstrings; this muscle selection seems based on intuition and not biomechanics and is likely suboptimal. Here, we sample surface EMGs from 20 elite rowers to assess which, when, and how muscles are activated during indoor rowing. From EMG amplitude we specifically
... de we specifically quantified the onset of activation and silencing, the duration of activity and how similarly soleus, gastrocnemius medialis, tibialis anterior, rectus femoris, vastus lateralis and medialis, semitendinosus, and biceps femoris muscles were activated between limbs. Current results revealed that the eight muscles tested were recruited during rowing, at different instants and for different durations. Rectus and biceps femoris were respectively active for the longest and briefest periods. Tibialis anterior was the only muscle recruited within the recovery phase. No side differences in the timing of muscle activity were observed. Regression analysis further revealed similar, bilateral modulation of activity. The relevance of these results in determining which muscles to target during FES Rowing is discussed. Here, we suggest a new strategy based on the stimulation of vasti and soleus during drive and of tibialis anterior during recovery.