Superimposed electromyostimulation of the thigh muscles during passive isokinetic cycling increases muscle strength without effort

J Frailty Sarcopenia Falls. 2023 Sep 1;8(3):163-173. doi: 10.22540/JFSF-08-163. eCollection 2023 Sep.


Objectives: This study was designed to investigate the effects of a completely passive isokinetic cycle (PIC) exercise with electromyostimulation (EMS) on improving muscle strength and the changes in kinesthesia during daily activities.

Methods: Twenty-nine sedentary females were divided into three groups. The EMS anterior and whole groups performed the PIC exercise without EMS 3 times a week for 3 weeks, followed by a 1-week break, and then performed it with EMS applied to the anterior and entire thigh muscles, respectively, 3 times a week for 3 weeks. The control group did not perform any training.

Results: The PIC exercise with EMS significantly increased the 30s chair stand test scores by 12-16% and the maximum isometric knee extension and flexion torques by 38-68% in both EMS-applied groups. The participants found its exercise easy and felt more comfortable with daily physical activities. The exercise without EMS did not show similar improvements. Muscle soreness was significantly greater in the EMS anterior group than in the EMS whole group; however, it was not severe.

Conclusions: The PIC exercise with EMS resulted in significant increases in muscle strength, facilitating a perceived ease of daily physical activities, while minimizing difficulties, effort, and notable muscle soreness.

Keywords: Electromyostimulation; Kinesthesia; Muscle Strength; Passive Isokinetic Cycle Exercise; Sarcopenia Prevention.