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The purposes of this study were threefold: (1) to compare the isometric torque-related patterns of absolute and normalized electromyographic (EMG) amplitude and mean power frequency (MPF) responses for electrode orientations that were parallel and perpendicular to the muscle fibers; (2) to examine the influence of electrode orientation on mean absolute EMG amplitude and MPF values; and (3) to determine the effects of normalization on mean EMG amplitude and MPF values from parallel and perpendicular electrode orientations. Ten adults (5 men and 5 women mean +/- SD age = 23.8 +/- 2.3 years) volunteered to participate in the investigation. Two sets of bipolar surface EMG electrodes (20 mm center to center) were placed parallel and perpendicular to the muscle fibers over the biceps brachii. The subjects performed a maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) test followed by randomly ordered submaximal muscle actions in 10% increments from 10 to 90% MVIC. Paired t-tests indicated that absolute EMG amplitude values for the parallel electrode orientation were greater (p < 0.05) than those for the perpendicular orientation at all isometric torque levels except 10% MVIC For normalized EMG amplitude values, however, there were no significant mean differences between electrode orientations. There were also no differences between electrode orientations for absolute or normalized EMG MPF values. In 30% of the cases, different torque-related patterns of responses were observed between the parallel and perpendicular electrode orientations for the absolute and normalized EMG amplitude and MPF values. Therefore, the results of the present study support the need for standardizing electrode orientation to compare the pattern of responses for EMG amplitude and MPF values and normalizing EMG amplitude data to compare the mean values.


J Zuniga, T J Housh, C L Camic, C R Hendrix, M Mielke, R J Schmidt, G O Johnson. The effects of parallel versus perpendicular electrode orientations on EMG amplitude and mean power frequency from the biceps brachii. Electromyography and clinical neurophysiology. 2010 Mar;50(2):87-96

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PMID: 20405784

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