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The Effects Of Repetitive Motion On Lumbar Flexion And Erector Spinae Muscle Activity In Rowers.

Jillian S Caldwell, P. McNair, M. Williams
Published 2003 · Medicine

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OBJECTIVE The purpose of this study was to investigate changes in lumbar flexion together with the pattern and level of muscle activity of selected erector spinae during a rowing trial.Design. Cross-sectional repeated measures design. BACKGROUND Low back pain is a common problem in rowers. The amount of lumbar flexion occurring during rowing might influence the possibility of injury. METHODS Sixteen young adult school rowers participated in the study. Changes in lumbar flexion and muscle activity were recorded across the drive phase, at three stages of an ergometer based rowing trial. Lumbar flexion was calculated by computerised motion analysis of surface markers attached to the spinous processes of L1 and S1. Surface electromyography techniques were used to examine the magnitude of activity from three erector spinae muscles. The median frequency of the electromyographic signal was examined to quantify fatigue in the erector spinae muscles during isometric maximal effort muscle activation prior to and after the rowing trial. RESULTS Lumbar flexion increased significantly (P<0.05) during the rowing trial, as did the magnitude of electromyographic activity from sites over the lumbar multifidus, iliocostalis lumborum and longissimus thoracis muscles. The median frequency decreased significantly (P<0.05) in each muscle examined. CONCLUSIONS The findings showed that rowers attain relatively high levels of lumbar flexion during the rowing stroke, and these levels are increased during the course of the rowing trial. Indirect evidence of muscle fatigue in erector spinae muscles was also apparent, and this observation may in part be responsible for the increased levels of lumbar flexion observed. RELEVANCE Excessive lumbar flexion may influence the potential for injury to spinal structures. An awareness of increased lumbar flexion and muscle fatigue in the erector spinae muscles may be important for injury prevention programs for rowers.
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