The Effect of Aquabag Use on Muscle Activation in Functional Strength Training

J Sport Rehabil. 2022 May 1;31(4):420-427. doi: 10.1123/jsr.2021-0245. Epub 2022 Feb 2.


Context: Although training with an aquabag (AB) has gained popularity, there is a lack of evidence of its effect. This study wanted to evaluate the effect of AB implementation on muscle activity of core and lower limb muscles during 3 functional exercises.

Design: Cross-sectional observational study.

Methods: Twenty healthy subjects performed a squat, lunge, and step-up, while using a stick and an AB. Surface electromyography signals were recorded from the trunk, pelvis, and thigh muscles in the dominant leg. Linear-mixed models were used to analyze the normalized surface electromyography signals.

Results: Results demonstrated a significant increase in muscle activity of the back muscles during all 3 exercises (P < .001 to P = .003), abdominals during squat (P = .034) and step-up (P = .046), hamstrings during lunge (P = .008) and step-up (P = .008), and gluteal muscles during lunge (P < .001 and P = .010, respectively).

Conclusions: These results indicate that an AB promotes functional strength training by demanding compensatory/additional activity of both stabilizing muscles (specifically in the core and pelvis regions) and prime movers of the lower limb. The authors recommend the use of an AB to enhance training and rehabilitation effects.

Keywords: electromyography; functional strength exercises; instability; water bag.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction / physiology
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Resistance Training*