Background: TheraBand™ was created in 1978 in Akron, USA and is a global product that has been proven to increase strength, mobility and flexibility when used in patient rehabilitation. There are many studies that have found significant strength improving effects when using TheraBand™ as a form of resistance training. However, there is very little research that investigates the TheraBand's™ true resistance as quantified by Electromyography (EMG) activity, and as a result the true resistance gradient between the TheraBand™ colours has not been determined. Purpose: To accurately identify the different colour TheraBand™ resistances during elbow extension, as a percentage of maximum possible power using EMG values. The results of this research will provide tangible evidence to inform clinician choice with regard to accurate prescription of the most appropriate TheraBand™ colour. This information will help to maximise the effectiveness and progression of strengthening rehabilitation. Methods: An experimental research design was employed to quantify and record the EMG output from the Triceps Brachii muscle during elbow extension when resisted by yellow (YT), red (RT) and green (GT) TheraBand™. A purposive convenient sample of 16 healthy participants aged 18–35 years with no previous injuries to the dominant arm were consented to participate in the study. Each participant had an EMG sensor placed on the Triceps Brachii of the dominant arm and were asked to extend their elbow joint from 90° to 5°. Each participant completed this standardised process 3 times per TheraBand™ colour, with a 2 min rest interval to prevent fatigue. The participants were not motivated verbally during the activity and were blinded to the colour TheraBand™ under test. Results: The YT, RT and GT produced an average mean EMG value of 51.40% (SD 6.29%), 62.92% (SD 7.69%) and 73.56% (SD 7.22%) respectively when compared to their own maximum voluntary contraction. On average the RT produced 11.52% more EMG activity during extension of the Triceps than the YT. Similarly, the GT produced 10.64% more EMG activity during extension of the triceps than the RT. Conclusion(s): During resisted elbow extension there is an average incremental EMG increase of 11.8% when using the RT when compared to the YT and when using the GT when compared to the RT. There is a clear overlap evident between the three data sets facilitating the transition between the TheraBand™ colours when used in strengthening rehabilitation. Implications: The results of this research support a smooth progression of the intensity of resistance provided by different colour TheraBand™ for rehabilitating patients in clinical practice. However, there was no overlap found between the EMG data when comparing the YT to the GT. This suggests a progression from the YT to the GT may be too intense and could have adverse effects on patient progression during strengthening rehabilitation.
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