The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of motor imagery and action observation combined with a hand grip strength program on the forearm muscles. Sixty subjects were selected and randomized into three groups: motor imagery (n = 20), action observation (n = 20), or a control group (n = 20). Outcome measures included hand grip strength, electromyographical activity and intramuscular oxygenation. The hand grip strength significantly increased in the motor imagery (p < .001) and action observation (p < .001) groups compared with the control group, although there were no differences between the both groups (p = .30). In the electromyographical activity, intra-group significant differences were found in motor imagery (p = .002) and action observation (p = .003) groups, although there were no differences between the both groups (p = 1.00) Intramuscular oxygenation results did not show any statistically significant differences between any of the study groups (p > .05). Our results suggest that both motor imagery and action observation training, combined with a hand grip strength program, present a significant strength gain and significant change in the strength and electromyographical activity of the forearm muscles, however no change was found in intramuscular oxygenation.
Keywords: Action observation; Electromyography; Hand grip strength; Intramuscular oxygenation; Motor imagery.
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