Activity distribution among the hamstring muscles during high‐speed running: A descriptive multichannel surface EMG study

Jozef J. M. Suskens*, Johannes L. Tol, Gino M. M. J. Kerkhoffs, Huub Maas, Jaap H. van Dieën, Gustaaf Reurink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study assessed activity distribution among the hamstring muscles during high-speed running. The objective was to compare within and between muscle activity, relative contribution and hip and knee joint angles at peak muscle activity during high-speed running.

Through multichannel electromyography, we measured muscle activity in male basketball players during high-speed running on a treadmill at 15 locations: five for biceps femoris long head, four for semitendinosus, and six for semimembranosus. Muscle activity was calculated for each location within each hamstring muscle individually for each percent of a stride cycle.

Twenty-nine non-injured basketball players were included (mean age: 17 ± 1 years; mass, 85 ± 9 kg; height, 193 ± 9 cm). Heterogeneous activity was found for all individual hamstring muscles across multiple events of the stride cycle. In the late-swing phase, muscle activity and relative contribution of the semimembranosus was significantly higher than of the semitendinosus. There was no significant difference in hip and knee joint angles at instant of peak muscle activity, assessed locally within individual hamstring muscles, as well as in general over the whole hamstring muscle.

Hamstring muscles were most active in the late-swing phase during high-speed running. In this phase, the semimembranosus was most active and the semitendinosus was least active. Within the biceps femoris long head, the most proximal region was significantly more active in the late-swing phase, compared to other muscle regions. For each muscle and location, peak muscle activity occurred at similar hip and knee joint angles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)954-965
Number of pages12
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports
Issue number6
Early online date16 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • electromyography
  • gait analysis
  • hamstring injury
  • high-speed running


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