Surface electromyography (sEMG) can provide information on muscle activation patterns during gait.
To characterize electromyographic activity during gait in shallow water and during deep-water running compare to on land and to review and analyse underwater surface-electromyographic (sEMG) procedures.
Eight databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, WEB OF SCIENCE, SPORT Discus, CINAHL, SCOPUS, SCIELO, and LILACS) were searched from their inception to the December of 2019.
The selected studies had to be related to electromyographic analysis of gait in an aquatic environment.
The studies that met the inclusion criteria were reviewed by two independent reviewers and divided into four groups.
Ten studies met the inclusion criteria. Lower muscle activation was found with treadmill water walking compared to treadmill land walking. With deep-water running, the leg muscles (tibialis anterior and gastrocnemius lateralis) have lower muscle activation when compared to on land running, but the trunk and thigh muscles have higher activation.
If gait is performed on an aquatic treadmill, the muscles assessed had lower muscle activation when compared to land. During deep-water running activities, lower activation of the distal leg muscles and a higher activation thigh muscles were found when compared to on land. Studies did not follow standard processes in sEMG procedures.