Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing

, Volume 57, Issue 11, pp 2407–2415 | Cite as

Badminton players show a lower coactivation and higher beta band intermuscular interactions of ankle antagonist muscles during isokinetic exercise

  • Lejun WangEmail author
  • Wenxin NiuEmail author
  • Kuan Wang
  • Shengnian Zhang
  • Li Li
  • Tianfeng Lu
Original Article


Previous studies have suggested that skilled athletes may show a specific muscle activation pattern with a lower antagonist coactivation level. Based on the point, we hypothesize that the coupling of antagonistic muscles may be different between badminton players and non-skilled individuals during exercises. The current work was designed to verify the hypothesis. Ten male college students and eight male badminton players performed three maximal voluntary isometric contractions (MVC) and a set of three maximal concentric ankle dorsiflexion and plantar flexions at an angular velocity of 30°, 60°, 120°, and 180°/s. Surface electromyography (EMG) was recorded from the tibialis anterior (TA) and lateral gastrocnemius (LG) muscles during the test. Normalized average EMG amplitude and phase synchronization index (PSI) between surface EMG of TA and LG were calculated. Antagonist muscle coactivation was significantly lower (from 22.1% ± 9.4 and 10.7% ± 3.7 at 30°/s to 22.4% ± 9.7 and 10.6% ± 2.5 at 180°/s for non-players and badminton players group, respectively), and PSI in beta frequency band was significantly higher (from 0.42 ± 0.06 and 0.47 ± 0.15 at 30°/s to 0.35 ± 0.12 and 0.49 ± 0.14 at 180°/s) in the badminton player group compared with the non-player group during isokinetic ankle dorsiflexion contraction. No significant difference was found in antagonist muscle coactivation and PSI between two group subjects during ankle plantar flexion. The decrease of antagonist coactivation may indicate an optimal motor control style to increase the contraction efficiency, while the increase coupling of antagonistic muscles may help to ensure joint stability to compensate for the decrease of antagonist coactivation.

Graphical abstract

Significant difference of observed indexes between non-players and badminton players.


Antagonist muscle Coactivation EMG Ankle joint Isokinetic exercise Badminton players 


Funding information

This work was supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, the Research and Construction Project of Teaching Reform in Tongji University, and the Twelfth Experimental Teaching Reform Project of Tongji University.


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Copyright information

© International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sport and Health Research Center, Physical Education DepartmentTongji UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Yangzhi Rehabilitation HospitalTongji University School of MedicineShanghaiChina
  3. 3.School of KinesiologyShanghai University of SportShanghaiChina
  4. 4.Department of Health & KinesiologyGeorgia Southern UniversityStatesboroUSA

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