Is the coactivation of biceps femoris during isometric knee extension affected by adiposity in healthy young humans?

G. De Vito, D. McHugh, A. Macaluso, P.E. Riches

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This study aimed to verify if the level of biceps femoris antagonist activity measured during isometric knee extension was affected by the individual degree of adiposity in 14 young healthy subjects of both genders aged between 18 and 24. Surface EMG signals were recorded from the biceps femoris muscle of the dominant leg during isometric knee extension at three levels of voluntary contraction: maximum (MVC), 80% MVC and 200 N, respectively. In addition, whole-body percentage of fat, volume of the thigh and skinfold thickness below the electrodes were achieved. Biceps femoris coactivation values were: 28.5±17.9%, 30.9±17.7% and 25.3±17.5% for MVC, 80% MVC and 200N trials, respectively (NS). Neither the whole-body percentage of fat nor the skinfold thickness influenced percentage coactivation, irrespective of the intensity of contraction. However, an increase in the whole-body percentage of fat showed a tendency to augment the biceps femoris coactivation (PI=0.079; PII=0.575). No differences in coactivation were observed between genders. In addition, the duration of contraction did not affect the level of coactivation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-431
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Electro - myography and Kinesiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2003


  • antagonist coactivation
  • surface EMG
  • root mean squared
  • isometric contraction
  • body fat

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