Muscle News Daily May 12 2014, 0 Comments

Here's how to get the best glute maximus activation in prone extension exercises with knee flexion

Prone hip extension with knee flexion exercises are used often in rehabilitation. We all know the impact of altered muscle activation, sometimes resulting in excess lumbar muscle activation. The question is, can we change the activation of the gluteus maximus with different hip abduction positions? 

This new study in the journal Manual Therapy looked at hip abduction angles of 0, 15 and 30 degrees. Surprisingly, 30 degrees of hip abduction resulted in the greatest EMG activity of the gluteus maximus muscle. I'll definitely begin testing this out on some of my patients that come in with altered muscle activation patterns. If you are doing these exercises, make sure you also provide verbal cues. The Journal of Athletic Training (click here for full free article) previously found that verbal cues increased muscle timing and activation amplitude compared to no verbal cues. I usually also like using tactile cues with gentle tapping of the glutes upon hip extension to maximize the results. 

Want to maintain muscle mass in older age as a swimmer? Swim longer distances

Here's an interesting study on maintaining muscle mass in older swimmers. The study, in the journal Rejuvenation Research, looked at master swimmers aged 52 to 82 years old. They looked at high training distance (>3000 m/session and frequency of 4.1 times/ week) and moderate distance training (1500-2800 m/session and 3.4 times/week). The high training distance had greater skeletal muscle mass. Although this study was on master swimmers, the recommendations is to continue maintaining a high level of swimming. 

How does an MRI compare to good old fashioned clinical assessment techniques for ACL tears?

In the past, some common physical examination techniques were called into question about their reliability and validity. Here, we take a look at whether some of the common ACL tear techniques can keep up with an MRI or arthroscopy when it comes to diagnostic assessment. The results aren't all that surprising here.

The recent study in question found that the MRI accuracy of clinical diagnosis was 82.5 % for ACL tears. The accuracy of two of three clinical examination tests (positive anterior drawer test and positive Lachman clinical examination test) was 96% and 94% for ACL tears. One thing to note is that the authors themselves revealed that many studies of clinical examination tests compared with arthroscopy found that it depended on the level of the skilled orthopaedic or trauma surgeon's hands. However, in this study, it was felt that MRI, except in certain circumstances, is an expensive and unnecessary diagnostic test in patients with suspected meniscal and ACL pathology. So get going and practice those orthopedic tests on everyone. You just might save some money on MRIs.