Difference in muscle activation patterns during high-speed versus standard-speed yoga: A randomized sequence crossover study

Melanie Potiaumpai, Maria Carolina Massoni Martins, Claudia Wong, Trusha Desai, Roberto Rodriguez, Kiersten Mooney, Joseph Signorile

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Objectives To compare the difference in muscle activation between high-speed yoga and standard-speed yoga and to compare muscle activation of the transitions between poses and the held phases of a yoga pose. Design Randomized sequence crossover trial Setting A laboratory of neuromuscular research and active aging Interventions: Eight minutes of continuous Sun Salutation B was performed, at a high speed versus a standard-speed, separately. Electromyography was used to quantify normalized muscle activation patterns of eight upper and lower body muscles (pectoralis major, medial deltoids, lateral head of the triceps, middle fibers of the trapezius, vastus medialis, medial gastrocnemius, thoracic extensor spinae, and external obliques) during the high-speed and standard-speed yoga protocols. Main Outcome Measures: Difference in normalized muscle activation between high-speed yoga and standard-speed yoga. Results Normalized muscle activity signals were significantly higher in all eight muscles during the transition phases of poses compared to the held phases (p < 0.01). There was no significant interaction between speed × phase; however, greater normalized muscle activity was seen for highspeed yoga across the entire session. Conclusions Our results show that transitions from one held phase of a pose to another produces higher normalized muscle activity than the held phases of the poses and that overall activity is greater during highspeed yoga than standard-speed yoga. Therefore, the transition speed and associated number of poses should be considered when targeting specific improvements in performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-29
Number of pages6
JournalComplementary Therapies in Medicine
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017



  • Aerobic training
  • Interval training
  • Muscle activity
  • Power yoga

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and Manual Therapy
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing

Cite this