Comparing electromyographic and mechanomyographic frequency-based fatigue thresholds to critical torque during isometric forearm flexion

C. Russell Hendrix, Terry J. Housh, Clayton L. Camic, Jorge M. Zuniga, Glen O. Johnson, Richard J. Schmidt

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Abstract

Theoretically, the critical torque (CT), electromyographic mean power frequency fatigue threshold (EMG MPFFT), and mechanomyographic mean power frequency fatigue threshold (MMG MPFFT) describe the maximal non-fatiguing isometric torque level. Purpose: The purposes of this study were threefold: (1) to determine if the mathematical model for estimating the EMG MPFFT during isometric muscle actions of the leg extensors was applicable to isometric muscle actions of the forearm flexors; (2) to determine if the mathematical model for estimating the EMG MPFFT from the frequency of the EMG signal was applicable to the frequency domain of the MMG signal to estimate a new fatigue threshold called the mechanomyographic mean power frequency fatigue threshold (MMG MPFFT); and (3) to compare the mean torque levels derived from the CT, EMG MPFFT, and MMG MPFFT tests during isometric forearm flexion muscle actions. Methods: Ten adults (4 men and 6 women, mean±SD; age=22.0±2.1 years) performed three or four continuous, fatiguing, isometric muscle actions of the forearm flexors at 30, 45, 60, and 75% of maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) to determine the time to exhaustion (Tlim) values. The slope coefficient of the linear relationship between total isometric "work" (Wlim in Nms=torque×Tlim) and Tlim was defined as the CT. Surface EMG and MMG signals were recorded from the biceps brachii muscle during each fatiguing isometric muscle action. The EMG and MMG MPFFT were defined as the y-intercepts of the isometric torque versus slope coefficient (EMG and MMG MPF versus time) plots. Results: There were no significant differences between fatigue thresholds (CT=26.3±0.8, EMG MPFFT=31.4±4.2, and MMG MPFFT=29.5±7.0%MVIC), and the mean torque values (Nm) from the three fatigue thresholds were significantly intercorrelated at r=0.94-0.96. Conclusion: The EMG MPFFT test may provide a non-invasive method to examine the effects of interventions on the conduction velocity and shape of the action potential waveform. In addition, the effects of interventions on the global motor unit firing rate of the unfused, activated motor units may be examined by the non-invasive methods of the MMG MPFFT test.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-72
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Volume194
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 15 2010

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Keywords

  • EMG MPF fatigue threshold (EMG MPFFT)
  • Mean power frequency (MPF)
  • Mechanomyographic (MMG) MPFFT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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