Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Thomas Mohr


Joints -- physiology; Muscles -- physiology


Americans are increasingly interested in exercising to increase fitness and reduce the risks of disease. One of the latest machines used to accomplish this goal is the elliptical trainer, a combination stair stepper, treadmill, exercise cycle, and cross-country ski machine. The purpose of this study was to describe muscle activity and joint range of motion while moving both forward and backward on an elliptical trainer at different inclines.

Six subjects between the ages of twenty-two and twenty-five years rode an elliptical trainer backwards and forwards at different inclines for four trials. Electromyographic activity of eight lower extremity muscles was calculated along with lower extremity joint angles while performing the stride.

From our results, we concluded that with changing inclines and direction, the electromyographical data from the lower extremity muscles was variable. Neither changes in direction nor incline produced consistent changes in EMG activity. Range of motion of the hip and knee increased as the incline increased. No differences in range of motion were noted when changing from backward striding to forward striding.