Repeatability of surface EMG variables during voluntary isometric contractions of the biceps brachii muscle

A. Rainoldi, G. Galardi, L. Maderna, G. Comi, L. Lo Conte, R. Merletti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The repeatability of initial value and rate of change of mean spectral frequency (MNF), average rectified values (ARV) and muscle fiber conduction velocity (CV) was investigated in the dominant biceps brachii of ten normal subjects during sustained isometric voluntary contractions. Four levels of contraction were studied: 10%, 30%, 50% and 70% of the maximal voluntary contraction level (MVC). Each contraction was repeated three times in each of three different days for a total of nine contractions/level/subject and 90 contractions per level across the ten subjects. Repeatability was investigated using the Intraclass Correlation Coefficient (ICC) and the standard error of the mean (SEM) of the estimates for each subject. Contrary to observations in other muscles, CV estimates appeared to be very repeatable both within and between subjects. CV showed a small but significant increase when contraction force increased from 10% to 50% MVC but no change for further increase of force. As force increased, MNF showed a slight decrease possibly related to a wider spreading of the CV values. The rate of time decrement of MNF and CV increased with the level of contraction. The normalized decrement (% of initial value per second) was in general higher for MNF than for CV and was more repeatable between subjects at 10% MVC than at 70% MVC. A final observation is that a resting time of 5 minutes may not be sufficient after a contraction at 50% or 70% MVC. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-119
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Electromyography and Kinesiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1999


  • Biceps brachii
  • Electromyography
  • EMG
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle fiber conduction velocity
  • Repeatability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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