You are on page 1of 37

The EMG Signal

EMG - Force Relationship


Signal Processing.3

EMG - Force Relationship

An EMG signal will not necessarily reflect


the total amount of force (or torque) a
muscle can generate
The number of motor units recorded by
electrodes will be less than the total number of
motor units that are firing - electrodes cant
pick-up all motor units

EMG - Force Relationship:


Amplitude
If a newly recruited motor unit is close to
the electrode the relative increase in the
EMG signal amplitude will be greater than
the corresponding increase in force
If a motor unit is too far from the electrode
the amplitude will not change but the force
will increase

EMG - Force Relationship:


Amplitude

Motor unit firing rate will increase as force


demand increases
Initially force rises rapidly due to increased
firing rate
EMG amplitude will increase less rapidly

EMG - Force Relationship:


Firing Rate

As force output increases beyond the rate of


newly recruited motor units
Firing rate will increase
Force produced by the motor unit will saturate

EMG - Force Relationship:


Firing Rate

As force output increases beyond the rate of


newly recruited motor units
Firing rate will increase
Force produced by the motor unit will saturate

Total EMG amplitude increases more than


force output (i.e., non-linear)

EMG

Force
Motor Unit Firing Rate

Motor Unit Firing Rate

EMG - Force Relationship:


Isometric vs. Isotonic Contractions
Lippold (1952), Close (1972) & BiglandRitchie (1981) often cited in suggesting
there is a linear relationship between IEMG
and tension.
Zuniga and Simmon (1969) & Vrendenbregt
and Rau (1973) suggested a non-linear
relationship exists

EMG - Force Relationship:


Isometric vs. Isotonic Contractions

EMG - Force Relationship:


Isometric vs. Isotonic Contractions

During isotonic contractions force production


lags EMG
Motor unit twitch (contraction) reaches peak 40 100 msec after motor unit activates
Summation of twitch contractions summates the
delay (Inman et al., 1952; Gottlieb and Agarwal
(1971)

Force
EMG

EMG - Force Relationship:


Isometric vs. Isotonic Contractions

Working Model: Probably a consensus of


opinion that EMG and force are linear
under isometric condition and non-linear
under isotonic conditions (Weir et al., 1992)

EMG - Force Relationship:


Concentric vs. Eccentric Contractions

EMG amplitudes are generally less during


negative (eccentric) work vs. positive
(concentric) work (Komi, 1973; Komi et al.,
1987)
Preloaded tension in tendons (non-contractile
elements) requires less contribution from
muscle (contractile elements)
Less metabolic work required

EMG ~ muscle metabolism

Rectification
Translates the raw EMG signal to a single
polarity (usually positive)
Facilitates signal processing

Calculation of mean
Integration
Fast Fourier Transform (FFT)

Rectification - Types

Full-wave

Adds the EMG signal


below the baseline
(usually negative
polarity) to the signal
above the baseline
Conditioned signal is all
positive polarity

Preferred method
Conserves all signal
energy for analysis

Rectification - Types

Full-wave
Half-wave

Deletes the EMG


signal below the
baseline

Rectification - Types
Raw EMG

Full-wave
Rectified EMG

Half-wave
Rectified EMG

Delete

Rectification

Full-wave rectification takes the absolute


value of the signal (array of data points)

Rectification

To rectify the signal turn the toggle switch


to the On position

Integration

A method of quantifying the EMG signal


Assigns the signal a numerical value
Permits manipulation
Calculation

Example: Normalization

Statistical analysis

A form of linear envelope procedure


Measures the area under a curve

Integration
Area Under a Curve

Units = mV - msec

Integration - Procedure

EMG signal is

Full-wave rectified
(Usually) lowpass
filtered
5 - 8 (10) Hz

Segment selected
Integral read (mVmsec [or secs])

Normalization
Question: Is it valid to directly compare the
EMG output (e.g., integral) of a muscle
across subjects?
Subjects will have muscles with

different physiological cross-sections


different lengths - geometry
different ratios of slow- to fast-twitch fibers
different recruitment patterns
different firing frequencies

Answer
Probably

not!

Solution
Normalize the measurement value against a
maximal effort value
Divide the sub-maximal effort value (e.g.,
50%, 75%, etc.) by the maximal effort value
The resultant ratio (no units) is the
normalized signal making direct comparison
possible

Isometric or Isotonic Effort?

Intuitively, it seems to make sense that the


normalizing maximal effort should be the
same as the nature of the effort
Isometric - Isometric
Isotonic/Isokinetic - Isotonic/Isokinetic

Isometric or Isotonic Effort?

Intuitively, it seems to make sense that the


normalizing maximal effort should be the
same as the nature of the effort
Isometric - Isometric
Isotonic/Isokinetic - Isotonic/Isokinetic

Because the relationship between the EMG


signal and isotonic/isokinetic contractions
is probably not linear, most sources
recommend normalizing with the isometric
maximal effort value (i.e., during MVC)

Therefore...
Isometric contraction normalized with an
isometric MVC
and
Isotonic/isokinetic contractions normalized
with an isometric MVC

Example
Integral during MVC of VM of
quadriceps = 5.76 mV - msec
Integral of VM at 50% of a sub-maximal
effort = 2.13 mV - msec

Ratio:

2.13 mV - msec
5.76 mV - msec

.37

Reference Sources
Bigland-Richie, B. (1981). EMG/force relations and
fatigue of human volunatry contractions. In D.I.
Miller (Ed.), Exercise and sport sciences reviews
(Vol.9, pp.75-117), Philadelphia: Franklin Institute.
Close, R.I. (1972). Dynamic properties of
mammalian skeletal muscles. Physiological
Review,52, 129-197.

Reference Sources
Gottlieb, G.L., & G.C. Agarwal, G.C. (1971).
Dynamic relatiosnhip between isometric muscle
tension and the electromyogram in man. Journal of
Applied Physiology, 30, 345-351.
Inman, V.T., Ralston, J.B. Saunders, J.B., Fienstein,
B, & Wright, E.W. (1952). Relation of human
electromyogram to muscular tension. Medicine,
Biology and Engineering, 8, 187-194.

Reference Sources
Komi, P.V. (1973). Relationship between muscle
tension, EMG, and velocity of contraction under
concentric and eccentric work. In J.E. Desmedt,
New developments in electromyography and
clinical neurophysiology (pp. 596-606), Basel,
Switzerland: Karger.

Reference Sources
Komi, P.V., Kaneko, M., & Aura, O. (1987). EMG
activity of the leg extensor muscles with special
reference to mechanical efficiency in concentric and
eccentric exercise. International Journal of Sports
Medicine, 8 (suppl), 22-29.
Lippold, O.C.J. (1952). The relationship between
integrated action potentials in a human muscle and its
isometric tension. Journal of Physiology, 177, 492-499.

Reference Sources
Vrendenbregt, J., & Rau, G. (1973). Surface
electromyography in relation to force, muscle
length and endurance. In J.E. Desmedt (Ed.) New
developments in electromyography and clinical
neurophysiology (pp. 607-622), Basel,
Switzerland: Karger.

Reference Sources
Zuniga, E.N., & Simons, D.G. (1969). Non-linear
relationship between averaged electromyogram
potential and muscle tension in normal subjects.
Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation,
50, 613-620.

Reference Sources
Weir, J.P., McDonough, A.L., & Hill, V. (1996). The
effects of joint angle on electromyographic indices
of fatigue. European Journal of Applied
Physiology and Occupational Physiology, 73,
387-392.

Reference Sources
Weir, J.P, Wagner, L.L., & Housh, T.J. (1992).
Linearity and reliability of the IEMG v. torque
relationship for the forearm flexors and leg
extensors. American Journal of Physical Medicine
and Rehabilitation, 71, 283-287.