Surface electromyography during physical exercise in water: A systematic review

Cuesta-Vargas, Antonio & Cano-Herrera, Carlos (2014) Surface electromyography during physical exercise in water: A systematic review. BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation, 6(15).

View at publisher (open access)



Aquatic exercise has been widely used for rehabilitation and functional recovery due to its physical and physiological benefits. However, there is a high variability in reporting on the muscle activity from surface electromyographic (sEMG) signals. The aim of this study is to present an updated review of the literature on the state of the art of muscle activity recorded using sEMG during activities and exercise performed by humans in water.


A literature search was performed to identify studies of aquatic exercise movement.


Twenty-one studies were selected for critical appraisal. Sample size, functional tasks analyzed, and muscles recorded were studied for each paper. The clinical contribution of the paper was evaluated.


Muscle activity tends to be lower in water-based compared to land-based activity; however more research is needed to understand why. Approaches from basic and applied sciences could support the understanding of relevant aspects for clinical practice.

Impact and interest:

1 citations in Scopus
Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

15 since deposited on 21 Oct 2015
15 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 85583
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Electromyography, Aquatics, Hydrotherapy, Review
DOI: 10.1186/2052-1847-6-15
ISSN: 2052-1847
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Clinical Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Cuesta-Vargas and Cano-Herrera
Copyright Statement: This is an Open Access article distributed under the
terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted
use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons
Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in
this article, unless otherwise stated.
Deposited On: 21 Oct 2015 01:20
Last Modified: 09 May 2016 18:18

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page