2002 Volume 21 Issue 1 Pages 29-43
To investigate the behavior of mechanomyogram (MMG) and electromyogram (EMG) signals in the time and frequency domains during sustained isometric contraction, MMG and surface EMG were obtained simultaneously from four muscles: upper trapezius (TP), anterior deltoid (DL), biceps brachii (BB), and brachioradialis (BR) of 10 healthy male subjects. Experimental conditions consisted of 27 combinations of 9 postures [3 shoulder angles (SA): 0°, 30°, 60° and 3 elbow angles (EA): 120°, 90°, 60°] and 3 contraction levels: 20%, 40%, and 60% of maximum voluntary contraction (MVC). Subjective evaluations of fatigue were also assessed using the Borg scale at intervals of 60, 30, and 10 sec at 20%, 40%, and 60% MVC tests, respectively. The mean power frequency (MPF) and root mean square (RMS) of both signals were calculated. The current study found clear and significant relationships among physiological and psychological parameters on the one hand and SA and EA on the other. EA's effect on MVC was found to be significant. SA had a highly significant effect on both endurance time and Borg scale. In all experimental conditions, significant correlations were found between the changes in MPF and RMS of EMG in BB with SA and EA (or muscle length). In all four muscles, MMG frequency content was two or three times lower than EMG frequency content. During sustained isometric contraction, the EMG signal showed the well-known shift to lower frequencies (a continuous decrease from onset to completion of the contraction). In contrast, the MMG spectra did not show any shift, although its form changed (generally remaining about constant). Throughout the contraction, increased RMS of EMG was found for all tests, whereas in the MMG signal, a significant progressive increase in RMS was observed only at 20% MVC in all four muscles. This supports the hypothesis that the RMS amplitude of the MMG signal produced during contraction is highly correlated with force production. Possible explanations for this behavioral difference between the MMG and EMG signals are discussed.