Isometric knee extension force and average integrated EMG of the vastus lateralis muscle were obtained from 27 healthy subjects using a maximum effort, ramp and hold protocol. In each of the 125 total trials mat were included in the analysis, a 2-s plateau region was extracted and divided into two adjacent 1000-ms bins. Variability and reliability of bin-to-bin measurements of force and EMG were then evaluated across 14 different integration intervals ranging from 10 to 1000 ms. Statistical analyses of bin-to-bin variability measures demonstrated that integration intervals of 250 ms and longer significantly reduced variability and improved reliability of average integrated EMG values during maximum effort isometric exertions. Bin-to-bin EMG reliability increased from .728 at 10 ms to .991 at 1000 ms. Force parameters appeared less sensitive to changes in length of the integration interval. It was suggested that longer intervals might also improve the validity of the EMG-force relationship during maximum effort isometric exertions by reducing problems associated with electromechanical delay.
Peter Vint is with the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 27402-6169. Richard Hinrichs is with the Exercise and Sport Research Institute at Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-0404.