Does normalization of voluntary EMG amplitude to MMAX account for the influence of electrode location and adiposity?
2018-08-06T08:24:23Z (GMT) by
Voluntary surface electromyography (sEMG) amplitude is known to be influenced by both electrode position and subcutaneous adipose tissue thickness, and these factors likely compromise both between- and within-individual comparisons. Normalization of voluntary sEMG amplitude to evoked maximum M-wave parameters [MMAX peak-to-peak (P-P) and Area] may remove the influence of electrode position and subcutaneous tissue thickness. The purpose of this study was to: (i) assess the influence of electrode position on voluntary, evoked (MMAX P-P and Area) and normalized sEMG measurements across the surface of the vastus lateralis (VL; experiment 1: n=10); and (ii) investigate if MMAX normalization removes the confounding influence of subcutaneous tissue thickness [muscle-electrode distance (MED) from ultrasound imaging] on sEMG amplitude (experiment 2; n=41). Healthy young men performed maximum voluntary contractions (MVCs) and evoked twitch contractions during both experiments. Experiment 1: voluntary sEMG during MVCs was influenced by electrode location (P≤0.046, ES≥1.49 "large"), but when normalized to MMAX P-P showed no differences between VL sites (P=0.929) which was not the case when normalized to MMAX Area (P<0.004). Experiment 2: voluntary sEMG amplitude was related to MED, which explained 31-38% of the variance. Normalization of voluntary sEMG amplitude to MMAX P-P or MMAX Area reduced but did not consistently remove the influence of MED which still explained up to 16% (MMAX P-P) and 23% (MMAX Area) of the variance. In conclusion, MMAX P-P was the better normalization parameter for removing the influence of electrode location and substantially reduced but did not consistently remove the influence of subcutaneous adiposity.