2001 Volume 20 Issue 2 Pages 131-140
The purpose of this study was to evaluate muscle fatigue using electromyogram (EMG) and acoustic myogram (AMG) signals of the shoulder and arm muscles during sustained holding tasks, with the elbow at different angles and at different levels of maximum voluntary contraction (MVC). The EMG and AMG of four muscles, including the upper trapezius (TP), anterior deltoid (DL), biceps brachii (BB), and brachioradialis (BR), were recorded during experiments using 10 healthy young males. The experiments were conducted under 9 pairs of conditions: 3 elbow angles (120°, 90°, and 60°) and * 3 levels of %MVC (20%, 40%, and 60%). Subjects were instructed to hold a weight equal to the designated %MVC at designated joint angles and asked to maintain that condition for as long as possible until exhaustion. Joint angles were also recorded by the electrogoniometers. The analysis of variance revealed that there was no significant effect of elbow angle on the mean MVC or on the endurance time. Elbow angle showed a significant effect on mean power frequency (MPF) of EMG in DL, BB, and BR, and a significant effect on root mean square (RMS) of EMG in four muscles. In BB and BR, MPF of EMG at 120° was found to be significantly lower than 90° and 60°, respectively. There was a significant main effect of elbow angle on MPF of AMG for TP at 20% MVC; for DL at 20% and 40% MVC; for BB at 40% and 60% MVC; and for BR at the three levels of %MVC. The results showed that the range MPF of AMG for DL, BB, and BR was between 32 to 46 Hz, whereas that for TP was from 49 to 83 Hz. There was a significant effect of elbow angle on RMS of AMG in all four muscles in all experiments. At 20% MVC, a progressive increase in RMS of AMG was observed with time. In contrast, at 40% and 60% MVC, RMS showed very different behavior; specifically, it was found that RMS of AMG at 20% MVC significantly increased with increase of elbow angle. We conclude that RMS of AMG has a good and clear correlation with elbow angle at a low level of contraction.