Normalization of electromyogram in the neck-shoulder region

  • H. Nieminen
  • E. -P. Takala
  • E. Viikari-Juntura


Linear and curvilinear electromyogram (EMG) normalization methods were compared among ten healthy men during a simulated work cycle demanding attention and static holding of the arm (‘Solitaire test’). Maximal voluntary contractions (MVC) and gradually increasing contractions up to 70% of MVC were used for normalization in different arm postures. The test contractions studied included inward and outward rotations, abduction, shoulder elevation, and flexion in different arm positions. The shoulder load moment was calculated for the flexion tests using a simple two-dimensional model. The effect of arm posture on the EMG versus shoulder load moment relationship was studied on the following muscles: supraspinatus, infraspinatus, trapezius (three parts), deltoid (two parts) and pectoralis major. All muscles participated in the MVC tests performed, and its was not possible to suggest a single recommended test for each muscle. Differences in normalized EMG median values ranging up to 30% of MVC were found between linear and curvilinear normalization methods. Short-term repeatability of normalization based on a contraction with gradually increasing force was good. Arm posture affected the relationships between shoulder load moment and EMG activity of all muscles studied. Arm posture did not, however, have a significant effect on the estimated amplitude probability distribution functions during the simulated work task. Therefore, at least for the tasks studied, the principle of normalizing in the middle position of the range of movement was deemed acceptable.

Key words

Muscle load Static contractions Maximal voluntary contraction 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Nieminen
    • 1
  • E. -P. Takala
    • 1
  • E. Viikari-Juntura
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyInstitute of Occupational HealthHelsinkiFinland

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