Variability in Lateral Positioning of Surface EMG Electrodes

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Taija Finni University of Jyväskylä, Finland

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Sulin Cheng University of Jyväskylä, Finland

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The positions of EMG electrodes over the knee extensor muscles were examined in 19 healthy men using MR images; electrodes were placed according to the SENIAM (surface electromyography for non-invasive assessment of muscles) guidelines. From axial images, the medial and lateral borders of the muscles were identified, and the arc length of the muscle surface was measured. The electrode location was expressed as a percentage value from the muscle’s medial border. EMGs were recorded during isometric maximal contraction, squat jumps, and countermovement jumps and analyzed for cross-correlation. The results showed that variations in lateral positioning were greatest in vastus medialis (47% SD 11) and rectus femoris (68% SD 15). In vastus lateralis, the electrode was usually placed close to the rectus femoris (19% SD 6). The peak cross-correlation coefficient varied between 0.15 and 0.68, but was not associated with electrode location. It is recommended that careful consideration is given to the medial-lateral positioning of the vastus lateralis electrodes especially, so that the electrodes are positioned over the mid-muscle rather than in close proximity to rectus femoris.

Finni is with the Neuromuscular Research Center, Department of Biology of Physical Activity, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland. Cheng is with the Department of Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland.

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