Exploring Muscle Activation during Nordic Walking: A Comparison between Conventional and Uphill Walking

Abstract

Nordic Walking (NW) owes much of its popularity to the benefits of greater energy expenditure and upper body engagement than found in conventional walking (W). Muscle activation during NW is still understudied, however. The aim of the present study was to assess differences in muscle activation and physiological responses between NW andWin level and uphill walking conditions. Nine expert Nordic Walkers (mean age 36.8±11.9 years; BMI 24.2 ±1.8 kg/m2) performed 5-minute treadmill trials ofWand NW at 4 km/h on inclines of 0% and 15%.

The electromyographic activity of seven upper body and five leg muscles and oxygen consumption (VO2) were recorded and pole force during NW was measured. VO2 during NW was 22.3% higher at 0% and only 6.9% higher at 15% than during W, while upper body muscle activation was 2- to 15-fold higher under both conditions. Lower body muscle activation was similarly increased during NW andWin the uphill condition, whereas the increase in erector spinae muscle activity was lower during NW than W.

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Source: PLOS ONE | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0138906 September 29, 2015