Changes in muscle coactivation during running: A comparison between two techniques, forefoot vs rearfoot

Daniel Araya, Juan López, Germán Villalobos, Rodrigo Guzmán-Venegas, Oscar Valencia*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Surface electromyography has been a technique used to describe muscle activity during running. However, there is little literature that analyses the behaviour of muscle coactivation in runners, describing the effect between two techniques associated with the initial contact, such as the use of rearfoot (RF) and forefoot (FF). Material and method: The purpose of this study was to compare muscle coactivation levels developed in the lower limb during two running techniques, FF vs RF. Fourteen amateur runners were evaluated (eight men, six women; age= 23.21 ± 3.58 years, mass= 63.89 ± 8.13 kg, height= 1.68 ± 0.08m). Surface electromyography was used to measure muscle activity during both running techniques evaluated on a treadmill, considering the muscle pairs: Rectus femoris- Biceps femoris (RFe-BF), Lateral Gastrocnemius-Tibialis Anterior (LG-TA), and Medial Gastrocnemius - Tibialis Anterior (MG-TA). These were calculated in three windows considering ten running cycles (0-5%, 80-100%, and 0-100%). To compare FF vs RF t-student test for paired data was used. Results: It was observed significant differences in the MG-TA pair (FF= 18.42 ± 11.84% vs RF = 39.05 ± 13.28%, p = 0.0018 during 0-5%, and RFe-BF pair (FF = 42.38 ± 18.11% vs RF = 28.37 ± 17.2%, p = 0.0331) during 80-100% of the race. Conclusion: Our findings show that the behaviour of muscle coactivation is different between FF vs RF techniques if we analyze little windows in the running cycle. This could be associated with an increase in the joint stability between these short intervals, represented in the initial and final regions of the running cycle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332-336
Number of pages5
JournalArchivos de Medicina del Deporte
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2021

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