Electromyography (EMG) is a helpful tool for clinicians to decide which exercise would be best for their patients rehabilitation. Many studies have investigated the muscle activation levels of elastic resistance, including Thera-Band® resistance bands. Dr. Todd Ellenbecker of Physiotherapy Associates in Scottsdale, Arizona, investigated the EMG levels of 2 Thera-Band exercises he uses in his clinic. “We use these exercises on our patients, yet we don’t exactly know the muscle activation levels,” Dr. Ellenbecker noted, “EMG testing will help us make better clinical decisions for exercise prescription.”
Dr. Ellenbecker presented his findings at the 2010 Thera-Band Research Advisory Committee (TRAC) meeting. 21 subjects performed an external rotation oscillation with the FlexBar® exerciser and a Thera-Band Band Loop Wall Walk. The researchers measured surface EMG levels of the deltoid, rotator cuff and scapular stabilizers. Interestingly, both exercises produced similar levels of activation. The most active muscle for both exercises was the infraspinatus of the rotator cuff, which had moderate activation levels. Interestingly, the ratios of the upper trapezius to lower trapezius were over 1:1 for both exercises. “That’s important because we like to bias the lower trapezius, which is usually weaker than the upper trapezius in shoulder patients,” said Dr. Ellenbecker. His research helps clinicians make better decisions about exercise prescription with Thera-Band products, thus supporting evidence-based practice.