Shoulder and arm muscle activity during elastic band exercises performed in a hospital bed

Tidsskriftartikel - 2018


OBJECTIVE: Muscle atrophy is a common side-effect of bed rest during hospitalization. However, resistance training may minimize or even prevent these complications. Therefore, we evaluated the efficiency of four upper-body elastic resistance exercises that could be performed while lying or sitting in a hospital bed.

METHODS: Twenty-two healthy subjects performed three repetitions of each exercise in a supine and seated position with a perceived intensity of 3 (low) and 8 (high) on the Borg CR10 Scale. Surface electromyography was collected from 12 shoulder and arm muscles (e.g. trapezius, deltoideus and biceps brachii), and normalized to a maximal voluntary isometric contraction (nEMG).

RESULTS: During all exercises performed at high intensity, moderate (>40%) to high (>60%) levels of nEMG were found for the majority of the analysed muscles, e.g. deltoideus (from 37% to 69%, median 57.5%), trapezius (from 43% to 66%, median 51%) and infraspinatus (from 54% to 66%, median 59%), with the exception of pectoralis major (from 29% to 47%, median 39.5%) and latissimus dorsi (from 15% to 22%, median 18.5%). No significant differences were found between the supine and seated positions for any of the exercises.

CONCLUSION: This study showed that high levels of shoulder and arm muscle activity can be achieved while lying or sitting in a hospital bed using appropriate exercises with elastic bands. The data presented here can be used by physiotherapists as a guideline for selecting suitable and effective strengthening exercises during in-hospital rehabilitation to counteract bed-rest related muscle atrophy in the upper body.


Skals S, Vinstrup J, Sundstrup E, Jakobsen MD, Andersen CH, Andersen LL. Shoulder and arm muscle activity during elastic band exercises performed in a hospital bed. Physician and Sportsmedicine 2018;46(2):233-241.
doi: 10.1080/00913847.2018.1441580

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