Original Research

Electromyography during pedaling on upright and recumbent ergometer

Lopes AD, Alouche SR, Hakansson N, Cohen, M.

Ergometers are used during rehabilitation and fitness to restore range of motion, muscular strength, and cardiovascular fitness. The primary difference between upright and recumbent ergometers is that the seat and crank spindle are aligned nearly vertically on upright bicycles and nearly horizontally on recumbent ergometers.  Despite the great utility of the recumbent bike, it has not been studied with regard to energy costs or muscular output. The authors analyzed lower limb EMG of the rectus femoris, semitendinosus, tibialis anterior, and medial gastrocnemius in ten male participants while on two commercial ergometers (upright and recumbent). There were no differences in the EMG activity of the muscles studied during pedaling on a standard recumbent and an upright stationary exercise ergometer at moderate workload. This understanding of muscle activity during pedaling may be useful in the development of new exercise protocols and therapeutic approaches.

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