Effects of vibration intensity, exercise, and motor impairment on leg muscle activity induced by whole-body vibration in people with stroke

Lin Rong Liao, Gabriel Y.F. Ng, Alice Y.M. Jones, Raymond C.K. Chung, Marco Yiu Chung Pang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Whole-body vibration (WBV) has increasingly been used as an adjunct treatment in neurological rehabilitation. However, how muscle activation level changes during exposure to different WBV protocols in individuals after stroke remains understudied. Objective. The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of WBV intensity on the magnitude of biceps femoris (BF) and tibialis anterior (TA) muscle activity and its interaction with exercise and with severity of motor impairment and spasticity among individuals with chronic stroke. Methods. Each of the 36 individuals with chronic stroke (mean age 57.3 years, SD 10.7) performed 8 different static exercises under 3 WBV conditions: (1) no WBV, (2) low-intensity WBV (frequency 20 Hz, amplitude 0.60 mm, peak acceleration 0.96g), and (3) high- intensity WBV (30 Hz, 0.44 mm, 1.61g). The levels of bilateral TA and BF muscle activity were recorded using surface electromyography (EMG). Results. The main effect of intensity was significant. Exposure to the low-intensity and high-intensity protocols led to a significantly greater increase in normalized BF and TA muscle electromyographic magnitude in both legs compared with no WBV. The intensity exercise interaction also was significant, suggesting that the WBV-induced increase in EMG activity was exercise dependent. The EMG responses to WBV were similar between the paretic and nonparetic legs and were not associated with level of lower extremity motor impairment and spasticity. Limitations. Leg muscle activity was measured during static exercises only. Conclusions. Adding WBV during exercise significantly increased EMG activity in the TA and BF muscles. The EMG responses to WBV in the paretic and nonparetic legs were similar and were not related to degree of motor impairment and spasticity. The findings are useful for guiding the design of WBV training protocols for people with stroke.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1617-1627
Number of pages11
JournalPhysical Therapy
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of vibration intensity, exercise, and motor impairment on leg muscle activity induced by whole-body vibration in people with stroke'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this