A Study on Trunk Muscle Activation of Two Deep Water Running Styles (High Knee Style and Cross-Country Style) and Land Walking.

Chun Lung So, C.H.N. Yuen, K.L.H. Tung, S. Lam, S.L. Cheng, Z.W.L. Hung, R.W.K. Leung, G.P.Y. Szeto

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Deep water running (DWR) is an aquatic aerobic exercise which involves running in water without the feet touching the bottom of the pool, and it may involve different activation of trunk muscles compared to running or walking on land. This form of exercise is gradually being adopted as a form of therapeutic exercise for people with low back pain. It is proposed that different types of running or walking in water may be a more comfortable form of training for the trunk and abdominal muscles compared to exercising on dry land.
This study aimed to examine the trunk muscle activation in deep water running in two different styles -high knee style and cross-country style, and these were compared with walking on land.
Eleven healthy individuals (two females, nine males, mean age=24 ± 4.6) were recruited for this study.
Surface electromyography (EMG) was used to examine the activities of the right transversus abdominis (TrA), rectus abdominis (RA), lumbar multifidus (LM) and lumbar erector spinae (ES) muscles in 5 conditions: static standing on land and in water, running in deep water with high knee and cross-country styles, and lastly walking on a treadmill.
The percentage of maximal voluntary contraction (%MVC) of the TrA was significantly higher for both running styles in DWR, compared to that of static standing in water. Comparing directly the two styles, muscle activity was higher with a high knee action compared to without. The activation of TrA during high-knee DWR was comparable with that during treadmill walking and this may have clinical implication.
The present results confirmed that running in deep water with a high knee action activated trunk muscles differently compared to standing or walking on land.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberPMID: 30526263
JournalJournal of Sport Rehabilitation
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2018


  • Deep Water Running
  • Trunk muscles
  • Running


Dive into the research topics of 'A Study on Trunk Muscle Activation of Two Deep Water Running Styles (High Knee Style and Cross-Country Style) and Land Walking.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this