This study aimed to clarify the differences in the electromyographic (EMG) activity of the semitendinosus (ST), semimembranosus (SM), biceps femoris long head (BFl), gluteus maximus (GM), and erector spinae (ES) muscles during leg curl and bridge exercises across different knee angles and isometric contraction outputs. Sixteen male volunteers participated in this study. The EMG of all targeted muscles was measured at 20 and 40% of the maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) in the leg curl and during bilateral and unilateral bridge exercises. The knee flexion angle was randomly set at 30, 60, 90, and 120° during each of the exercises. The obtained data were normalized by the MVIC of the corresponding muscle, and each of the normalized values was compared with that of the ST. The EMG activity of the ST was significantly greater at 120° of knee flexion than that of 30 and 60° of knee flexion during leg curl regardless of intensity (p < 0.05), in contrast with that of the SM and BFl. However, bridge exercises diminished this inverse relationship. The ES activity changed similarly to that of the hamstrings, and no difference was observed in the activity of the GM regardless of different knee angles during bridge exercise(s). The strength and conditioning professionals should alter the knee joint angle and load during bridge and leg curl exercises according to which hamstring muscle they want to strengthen because ST, SM, and BFl EMG activity varies depending on the intensity and knee angles during these exercises.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation