Neuromuscular Compartmentalization of the Vastus Medialis Muscle: Comparison of the Activity of the Vastus Medialis Obliquus and the Vastus Medialis Longus by High Density Electromyography

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Rodrigo Guzmán-Venegas; Oscar Valencia; Eduardo L. Cadore & Mikel izquierdo


Anatomical studies describe the vastus medialis (VM) as being subdivided into two morphologically distinct components, the vastus medialis obliquus (VMO) and the vastus medialis longus (VML). However, there are discrepancies regarding the functional differentiation of these components. The aim of this study was to compare the levels of activation of the VMO and the VML by high density surface electromyography. Twelve healthy young women (age: 21.4 ± 2.0 years; weight: 58.1 ± 7.5 kg; height: 1.6 ± 0.1 m), performed an open kinetic chain knee exercise during which the EMG activity of the VMO and the VML was recorded with two- dimensional matrices of 32 surface electrodes. The exercises were performed with three levels of resistance (5, 10 and 15 % of the body weight (BW)), considering three phases: concentric, isometric and excentric. In the isometric phase the VMO had greater activation than the VML with the three levels of resistance (p<0.05). In the excentric phase, the VMO also showed greater activation than the VML with the 10 and 15 % BW resistance levels, while in the concentric phase, the VMO showed greater activity than the VML with only the 15 % BW resistance. The results indicated significant differences in the activation level of the two components of the VM. This bears importance in the development of exercises intended to achieve a greater or more selective activation of the VMO. In the sample subjected to evaluation, the EMG recordings describe a greater activation of the VMO in comparison to the VML, which is more important in the isometric and excentric phases of the flexion/extension of the knee in an open kinetic chain. These findings suggest a functional compartmentalization of the VM.

KEY WORDS: Heterogeneous recruitment; Muscle activation pattern; Functional compartmentalization; Vastus medialis muscle.

How to cite this article

GUZMÁN-VENEGAS, R.; VALENCIA, O.; CADORE, E. L. & IZQUIERDO, M. Neuromuscular compartmentalization of the vastus medialis muscle: comparison of the activity of the vastus medialis obliquus and the vastus medialis longus by high density electromyography. Int. J. Morphol., 39(1):205-210, 2021.