Vastus medialis activation during knee extension exercises: Evidence for exercise prescription

Lori A. Bolgla, Scott W. Shaffer, Terry R. Malone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Context: Knee extension exercise is an important part of knee rehabilitation. Clinicians prescribe non-weight bearing exercise initially and progress patients to weight bearing exercise once they can perform a straight leg raise (SLR). Objective: Compare VM activation during a SLR and weight bearing exercises. Design: One-way repeated measures design. Setting: University Laboratory. Subjects: Fifteen healthy subjects. Intervention: One SLR exercise and 6 weight-bearing knee extension exercises. Main Outcome Measures: Electromyographic amplitudes for the VM expressed as a percent maximum voluntary isometric contraction. Results: The SLR had greater activation than the single leg stance and bilateral squat exercises. The step-up and unilateral leg press exercises had the greatest activation. Conclusions: SLR performance can be an important indicator for exercise progression. These results provide foundational knowledge to assist clinicians with exercise prescription.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Sport Rehabilitation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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