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Journal: Journal of electromyography and kinesiology : official journal of the International Society of Electrophysiological Kinesiology


The effects of hip muscle strength and activation on anterior cruciate ligament injury biomechanics, particularly knee valgus loading, have been reported in isolation and with equivocal results. However, the combination of these factors influences joint biomechanics. This investigation evaluated the influence of hip strength on gluteal activation and knee valgus motion. Maximal isometric hip abduction (ABD) and external rotation (ER) contractions were used to define High and Low strength groups. Knee kinematics and gluteus maximus (GMax) and medius (GMed) EMG amplitudes obtained during landing were compared between High and Low strength groups after controlling for the potential confounding influence of sex. Knee valgus motion did not differ between the High and Low hip ABD and ER strength groups. However, the Low ABD and ER strength groups displayed greater GMed and GMax EMG amplitudes, respectively, compared to the High strength groups. These findings suggest that weaker individuals compensate for a lack of force production via heightened neural drive. As such, hip muscle strength influences knee valgus motion indirectly by determining neural drive requirements.

Concepts: Knee, Anterior cruciate ligament, Electromyography, Muscular system, Ligament, Anterior cruciate ligament injury, Cruciate ligament, Gluteal muscles


Changes in muscle activities are commonly associated with shoulder impingement and theoretically caused by changes in motor program strategies. The purpose of this study was to assess for differences in latencies and deactivation times of scapular muscles between subjects with and without shoulder impingement. Twenty-five healthy subjects and 24 subjects with impingement symptoms were recruited. Glenohumeral kinematic data and myoelectric activities using surface electrodes from upper trapezius (UT), lower trapezius (LT), serratus anterior (SA) and anterior fibers of deltoid were collected as subjects raised and lowered their arm in response to a visual cue. Data were collected during unloaded, loaded and after repetitive arm raising motion conditions. The variables were analyzed using 2 or 3 way mixed model ANOVAs. Subjects with impingement demonstrated significantly earlier contraction of UT while raising in the unloaded condition and an earlier deactivation of SA across all conditions during lowering of the arm. All subjects exhibited an earlier activation and delayed deactivation of LT and SA in conditions with a weight held in hand. The subjects with impingement showed some significant differences to indicate possible differences in motor control strategies. Rehabilitation measures should consider appropriate training measures to improve movement patterns and muscle control.

Concepts: Muscle, Humerus, Shoulder, Deltoid muscle, Clavicle, Glenohumeral joint, Scapula, Serratus anterior muscle


Hamstring strain injuries are amongst the most common and problematic injuries in a wide range of sports that involve high speed running. The comparatively high rate of hamstring injury recurrence is arguably the most concerning aspect of these injuries. A number of modifiable and nonmodifiable risk factors are proposed to predispose athletes to hamstring strains. Potentially, the persistence of risk factors and the development of maladaptations following injury may explain injury recurrence. Here, the role of neuromuscular inhibition following injury is discussed as a potential mechanism for several maladaptations associated with hamstring re-injury. These maladaptations include eccentric hamstring weakness, selective hamstring atrophy and shifts in the knee flexor torque-joint angle relationship. Current evidence indicates that athletes return to competition after hamstring injury having developed maladaptations that predispose them to further injury. When rehabilitating athletes to return to competition following hamstring strain injury, the role of neuromuscular inhibition in re-injury should be considered.

Concepts: Strain, Knee, Injuries, Injury, Flexion, Potential, Hamstring, Sprain


PURPOSE: It is commonly stated that supraspinatus initiates abduction; however, there is no direct evidence to support this claim. Therefore, the aims of the present study were to determine whether supraspinatus initiates shoulder abduction by activating prior to movement and significantly earlier than other shoulder muscles and to determine if load or plane of movement influenced the recruitment timing of supraspinatus. METHODS: Electromyographic recordings were taken from seven shoulder muscles of fourteen volunteers during shoulder abduction in the coronal and scapular planes and a plane 30° anterior to the scapular plane, at 25%, 50% and 75% of maximum load. Initial activation timing of a muscle was determined as the time at which the average activation (over a 25ms moving window) was greater than three standard deviations above baseline measures. RESULTS: All muscles tested were activated prior to movement onset. Subscapularis was activated significantly later than supraspinatus, infraspinatus, deltoid and upper trapezius, while supraspinatus, infraspinatus, upper trapezius, lower trapezius, serratus anterior and deltoid all had similar initial activation times. The effects of load or plane of movement were not significant. CONCLUSIONS: Supraspinatus is recruited prior to movement of the humerus into abduction but not earlier than many other shoulder muscles, including infraspinatus, deltoid and axioscapular muscles. The common statement that supraspinatus initiates abduction is therefore, misleading.

Concepts: Humerus, Shoulder, Rotator cuff, Supraspinatus muscle, Deltoid muscle, Muscles of the upper limb, Scapula, Serratus anterior muscle


Previous electromyographic (EMG) studies of gluteus medius (GMed) have not accurately quantified the function of the three proposed structurally and functionally unique segments (anterior, middle and posterior). Therefore this study used anatomically verified locations for intramuscular electrode recordings in three segments of GMed to determine whether the segments are functionally independent. Bipolar fine wire electrodes were inserted into each segment of GMed in 15 healthy individuals. Participants completed a series of four walking trials, followed by maximum voluntary isometric contractions (MVICs) in five different positions. Temporal and amplitude variables for each segment were compared across the gait cycle using ANOVA. The relative contributions of each segment to the MVIC trials were compared with non-parametric tests. All segments showed a biphasic response during the stance phase of gait. There were no differences in amplitude variables (% MVIC) between segments, but the anterior segment had a later peak during both the first and second bursts.For the MVIC trials, there were significant differences in amplitude between segments in four of the five test positions. These data indicate that GMed is composed of three functionally independent segments. This study contributes to the theoretical understanding of the role of GMed.

Concepts: Electroencephalography, Non-parametric statistics, Electromyography, Electrode, Segment, Isometric exercise, Gluteal muscles, Gluteus medius muscle


In the present study we investigated displacement, time, velocity and acceleration history of center of mass (COM) and electrical activity of knee extensors to estimate the dominance of the factors influencing the vertical velocity in squat jumps (SJs), countermovement jumps (CMJs) and drop jumps (DJs) performed with small (40°) and large (80°) range of joint motion (SROM and LROM). The maximum vertical velocity (v4) was 23.4% (CMJ) and 7.8% (DJ) greater when the jumps were performed with LROM compared with SROM (p<0.05). These differences are considerably less than it could be expected from the greater COM and knee angular displacement and duration of active state. This small difference can be attributed to the greater deceleration during eccentric phase (CMJ:32.1%, DJ:91.5%) in SROM than that in LROM. v4 was greater for SJ in LROM than for SJ in SROM indicating the significance of the longer active state and greater activation level (p<0.001). The difference in v4 was greater between SJ and CMJ in SROM (38.6%) than in LROM (9.0%), suggesting that elastic energy storage and re-use can be a dominant factor in the enhancement of vertical velocity of CMJ and DJ compared with SJ performed with SROM.

Concepts: Energy, Kinetic energy, Classical mechanics, Acceleration, Velocity, Kinematics, Newton's laws of motion, Motion


The aim of the study was to review systematically the literature available on electromyographic (EMG) variables of the golf swing. From the 19 studies found, a high variety of EMG methodologies were reported. With respect to EMG intensity, the right erector spinae seems to be highly activated, especially during the acceleration phase, whereas the oblique abdominal muscles showed moderate to low levels of activation. The pectoralis major, subscapularis and latissimus dorsi muscles of both sides showed their peak activity during the acceleration phase. High muscle activity was found in the forearm muscles, especially in the wrist flexor muscles demonstrating activity levels above the maximal voluntary contraction. In the lower limb higher muscle activity of the trail side was found. There is no consensus on the influence of the golf club used on the neuromuscular patterns described. Furthermore, there is a lack of studies on average golf players, since most studies were executed on professional or low handicap golfers. Further EMG studies are needed, especially on lower limb muscles, to describe golf swing muscle activation patterns and to evaluate timing parameters to characterize neuromuscular patterns responsible for an efficient movement with lowest risk for injury.

Concepts: Muscle, Electromyography, Muscle contraction, Latissimus dorsi muscle, Human leg, Golf, Golf ball, Golf club


Alterations in scapular muscle activity, including excess activation of the upper trapezius (UT) and onset latencies of the lower trapezius (LT) and serratus anterior (SA) muscles, are associated with abnormal scapular motion and shoulder impingement. Limited information exists on the reliability of neuromuscular activity to demonstrate the efficacy of interventions. The purpose of this study was to characterize the reproducibility of scapular muscle activity (mean activity, relative onset timing) over time and establish the minimal detectable change (MDC). Surface electromyography (sEMG) of the UT, LT, SA and anterior deltoid (AD) muscles in 16 adults were captured during an overhead lifting task in two sessions, one-week apart. sEMG data were also normalized to maximum isometric contraction and the relative onset and mean muscle activity during concentric and eccentric phases of the scapular muscles were calculated. Additionally, reliability of the absolute sEMG data during the lifting task and MVIC was evaluated. Both intrasession and intersession reliability of normalized and absolute mean scapular muscle activity, assessed with intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC), ranged from 0.62 to 0.99; MDC values were between 1.3% and 11.7% MVIC and 24 to 135mV absolute sEMG. Reliability of sEMG during MVIC was ICC=0.82-0.99, with the exception of intersession upper trapezius reliability (ICC=0.36). Within session reliability of muscle onset times was ICC=0.88-0.97, but between session reliability was lower with ICC=0.43-0.73; MDC were between 39 and 237ms. Small changes in scapular neuromuscular mean activity (>11.7% MVIC) can be interpreted as meaningful change, while change in muscle onset timing in light of specific processing parameters used in this study is more variable.

Concepts: Muscle, Electromyography, Muscle contraction, Shoulder, Neuromuscular disease, Clavicle, Scapula, Serratus anterior muscle


Although mechanomyography (MMG) reflects local vibrations from contracting muscle fibers, it also includes bulk movement: deformation in global soft tissue around measuring points. To distinguish between them, we compared the multi-channel MMG of resting muscle, which dominantly reflected the bulk movement caused by arterial pulsations, to that of the contracting muscle. The MMG signals were measured at five points around the upper arms of 10 male subjects during resting and during isometric ramp contraction from 5% to 85% of maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) of the biceps brachii muscle. The characteristics of bulk movement were defined as the amplitude distribution and phase relation among the five MMG signals. The bulk movement characteristics during the rest state were not necessarily the same among the subjects. However, below 30Hz, each subject’s characteristics remained the same from the rest state (0% MVC) to the contracting state (80% MVC), at which the bulk movement mainly originates from muscle contraction activity. Results show that the MMG of the low frequency domain (<30Hz) includes bulk movement depending on the mechanical deformation characteristics of each subject's body, for a wide range of muscle contraction intensities.

Concepts: Muscle, Biceps brachii muscle, Triceps brachii muscle, Muscle contraction, Phase, Scapula, Biceps curl


Imbalance of neuromuscular activity in the scapula stabilizers in subjects with Subacromial Impingement Syndrome (SIS) is described in restricted tasks and specific populations. Our aim was to compare the scapular muscle activity during a voluntary movement task in a general population with and without SIS (n=16, No-SIS=15). Surface electromyography was measured from Serratus anterior (SA) and Trapezius during bilateral arm elevation (no-load, 1kg, 3kg). Mean relative muscle activity was calculated for SA and the upper (UT) and lower part of trapezius (LWT), in addition to activation ratio and time to activity onset. In spite of a tendency to higher activity among SIS 0.10-0.30 between-group differences were not significant neither in ratio of muscle activation 0.80-0.98 nor time to activity onset 0.53-0.98. The hypothesized between-group differences in neuromuscular activity of Trapezius and Serratus was not confirmed. The tendency to a higher relative muscle activity in SIS could be due to a pain-related increase in co-activation or a decrease in maximal activation. The negative findings may display the variation in the specific muscle activation patterns depending on the criteria used to define the population of impingement patients, as well as the methodological procedure being used, and the shoulder movement investigated.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Muscle, Electromyography, Activity, Task, Scapula, Serratus anterior muscle, Levator scapulae muscle