Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2014) 13, 793 - 800

Research article
Muscle Synergies of Untrained Subjects during 6 min Maximal Rowing on Slides and Fixed Ergometer
Shazlin Shaharudin1,2, , Damiano Zanotto3, Sunil Agrawal3
Author Information
1 Sport Science Unit, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia
2 Biomechanics and Movement Science Program, University of Delaware, USA
3 Department of Mechanical Engineering, Columbia University, USA

Shazlin Shaharudin
✉ Sport Science Unit, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 16150 Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, Malaysia
Publish Date
Received: 09-06-2014
Accepted: 08-07-2014
Published (online): 01-12-2014
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The slides ergometer (SE) was an improvisation from fixed ergometer (FE) to bridge the gap of mechanics between ergometer rowing and on-water rowing. The specific mechanical constraints of these two types of ergometers may affect the pattern of muscle recruitment, coordination and adaptation. The main purpose of this study was to evaluate the muscle synergy during 6 minutes maximal rowing on slides (SE) and fixed ergometers (FE). The laterality of muscle synergy was also examined. Surface electromyography activity, power output, heart rate, stroke length and stroke rate were analyzed from nine physically active subjects to assess the rowing performance. Physically active subjects, who were not specifically trained in rowing, were chosen to exclude the training effect on muscle synergy. Principal component analysis (PCA) with varimax rotation was applied to extract muscle synergy. Three muscle synergies were sufficient to explain the majority of variance in SE (94.4 ± 2.2 %) and FE (92.8 ± 1.7 %). Subjects covered more rowing distance, exerted greater power output and attained higher maximal heart rate during rowing on SE than on FE. The results proved the flexibility of muscle synergy to adapt to the mechanical constraints. Rowing on SE emphasized on bi-articular muscles contrary to rowing on FE which relied on cumulative effect of trunk and upper limb muscles during propulsive phase.

Key words: Muscle synergy, rowing, principal component analysis

           Key Points
  • Three muscle synergies were extracted during maximal rowing on both fixed and slides ergometer
  • Untrained subjects emphasized leg muscles while rowing on SE
  • Untrained subjects focused on back muscles during FE rowing
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