Muscle co-contraction between the agonist and antagonist muscles often causes low energy efficiency or movement disturbances. Surface electromyography biofeedback (sEMG-BF) has been used to train muscle activation or relaxation but it is unknown whether sEMG-BF reduces muscle co-contraction. We hypothesized that auditory sEMG-BF improves muscle co-contraction. Our purpose was to investigate whether auditory sEMG-BF is effective in improving muscle co-contraction. Thirteen participants pedaled on a road bike using four different auditory sEMG-BF conditions. We measured the surface electromyography at the lower limb muscles. The vastus lateralis (VL) and the semitendinosus (ST) activities were individually transformed into different beep sounds. Four feedback conditions were no-feedback, VL feedback, ST feedback, and both VL and ST feedback. We compared the co-contraction index (COI) of the knee extensor-flexor muscles and the hip flexor-extensor muscles among the conditions. There were no significant differences in COIs among the conditions (p = 0.83 for the COI of the knee extensor-flexor; p = 0.32 for the COI of the hip flexor-extensor). To improve the muscle co-contraction by sEMG-BF, it may be necessary to convert muscle activation into a muscle co-contraction. We concluded that individual sEMG-BF does not immediately improve muscle co-contraction during pedaling.
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