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Elastic Resistance Exercise as Effective as Machine Exercise, Study Says

knee extensionAccording to a new study, knee extension exercises performed with Thera-Band elastic resistance tubing produce muscle activation equal to or better than exercises performed on isotonic machines. Researchers in Denmark aimed to compare the activation patterns and levels of multiple muscles during knee extension with Thera-Band and with an isotonic machine. A total of 16 untrained adults were tested using a 10RM resistance, which is the amount of resistance the participants could move only 10 times.

The surface electromyography (EMG) of 10 abdominal, leg, and lower back muscles were assessed, and the EMG was measured during the concentric and eccentric phases of knee extension. The authors of the study found an increased activation during the elastic-resistance knee extension, suggesting it was due to greater elastic elongation. The authors also note that the greater quadriceps muscle activity observed with the elastic resistance may be especially beneficial for the rehabilitation of knee pathologies.

In addition, the greater muscle activity may be beneficial for patients following a total knee arthroplasty, where strength deficits have been observed to be present during extended knee angles. The authors of the study state that the knee extension performed with elastic resistance appears to be a simple method for “achieving high muscle activity [and] potentially stimulating muscular hypertrophy and strength gains in the quadriceps muscles.”

The authors add that the portability of this Thera-Band product make it ideal for use in a variety of settings, such as at home or in a hospital rehabilitation.

[Source: International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy]