Deltoid Electromyography is Reliable During Submaximal Isometric Ramp Contractions

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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The EMG and load relationship is commonly measured with multiple submaximal isometric contractions. This method is both time consuming and may introduce fatigue. The purpose of this study was to determine if the electromyography (EMG) amplitude from the middle deltoid was reliable during isometric ramp contractions (IRCs) at different angles of elevation and rates of force application. Surface EMG was measured at 3 shoulder elevation angles during IRCs at 4 submaximal levels of maximum voluntary contraction (MVC). Data were reliable in all conditions except during the rate relative to the subjects’ MVC at 90° for 30% and 40% MVC. The main effect for angle on EMG amplitude was found to be significant, p < .01. EMG at 90° was greater than at 60° (p < .017) and at 30° (p < .017). The main effect of force level on EMG amplitude was significant, p < .01 and follow-up contrast demonstrated a significant (p < .001) linear increase of EMG amplitude with force level. We conclude that EMG amplitude from IRCs are reliable across all shoulder elevation angles and up to 40% MVC. IRCs are a feasible method for recording EMG at the deltoid.

Phillips and Karduna are with the Orthopedic Biomechanics Lab, Department of Human Physiology, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR.

Address author correspondence to Andrew Karduna at karduna@uoregon.edu.
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