The purpose of this study was to determine if consistent participation in bench stepping leads to a decreased hamstrings to quadriceps ratio. Thirty-two healthy volunteers without pathological conditions of the knee joint participated in three, one-hour bench stepping classes each week for eight weeks. Each subject's strength and endurance of the hamstrings and quadriceps muscles were measured before and after the eight week stepping program using a Cybex 340 Isokinetic Dynamometer (Lumex, Ronkankoma, New York). Thigh girth was also measured before and after the exercise program. T-tests were used to evaluate the data. Significant increases were found in hamstring strength and endurance, quadriceps strength and endurance, and in the hamstrings to quadriceps strength ratio. Thigh girth and the hamstrings to quadriceps endurance ratio did not significantly change. The results of this study suggest that bench stepping does not lead to a muscle imbalance in the knee. In fact, more equivalent coactivation in the hamstrings and quadriceps occurs during bench stepping. It is therefore not anticipated that bench stepping with cause muscle imbalances which will produce knee injury or dysfunction.
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