Activity of upper limb and trunk muscles during power walking

  • Johann Peter Kuhtz-Buschbeck Christian - Albrechts - University KielInstitute of Physiology -
  • Antonia Frendel Christian - Albrechts - University KielInstitute of Physiology
Keywords: human gait, power walking, running, EMG activity, upper limb


Background: Arm swing is deliberately emphasized during power walking, a popular aerobic fitness exercise. Electromyographic (EMG) activation curves of arm and shoulder muscles during power walking have not yet been examined. Aim: To describe the amount and pattern of EMG activity of upper limb muscles during power walking. Data are compared to normal walking and jogging. Method: Twenty volunteers were examined on a treadmill at 6 km/h during (a) normal walking, (b) power walking, (c) jogging. EMG data were collected for the trapezius (TRAP), anterior (AD) and posterior deltoid (PD), biceps (BIC), triceps (TRI), latissimus dorsi (LD) and erector spinae (ES) muscles. Results: Activity of four muscles (AD, BIC, PD, TRAP) was three- to fivefold stronger during power walking than normal walking. Smaller significant increases involved the TRI, LD and ES. Two muscles (AD, TRAP) were more active during power walking than running. Normal walking and power walking involved similar EMG patterns of PD, LD, ES, while EMG patterns of running and walking differed. Interpretation: Emphasizing arm swing during power walking triples the EMG activity of upper limb muscles, compared to normal walking. Similar basic temporal muscle activation patterns in both modes of walking indicate a common underlying motor program.


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