Skip to main content

Muscular sound and force relationship during isometric contraction in man

Summary

The contracting muscle generates a low frequency sound detectable at the belly surface, ranging from 11 to 40 Hz. To study the relationship between the muscular sound and the intensity of the contraction a sound myogram (SMG) was recorded by a contact sensor from the biceps brachii of seven young healthy males performing 4-s isometric contractions from 10% to 100% of the maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), in 10% steps. Simultaneously, the electromyogram (EMG) was recorded as an index of muscle activity. SMG and EMG were integrated by conventional methods (iSMG and iEMG). The relationship between iSMG and iEMG vs MVC% is described by parabolic functions up to 80% and 100% MVC respectively. Beyond 80% MVC the iSMG decreases, being about half of its maximal value at 100% MVC. Our results indicate that the motor unit recruitment and firing rate affect the iSMG and iEMG in the same way up to 80% MVC. From 80% to 100% MVC the high motor units' discharge rate and the muscular stiffness together limit the pressure waves generated by the dimensional changes of the active fibres. The muscular sound seems to reflect the intramuscular visco-elastic characteristics and the motor unit activation pattern of a contracting muscle.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Barry DT (1987) Acoustic signals from frog skeletal muscle. Biophys J 51:769–773

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Barry DT, Geiringer SR, Ball RD (1985) Acoustic myography: a non invasive monitor of motor unit fatigue. Muscle Nerve 8:189–194

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Bergstrom RM (1959) The relation between the number of impulse and the integrated electric activity in electromyogram. Acta Physiol Scand 45:97–101

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Brozovich FV, Pollack GH (1983) Muscle contraction generates discrete sound bursts. Biophys J 41:35–40

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Burke RE (1981) Motor units: anatomy, physiology and functional organization. In: Brooks VB (ed) Handbook of physiology, sect I, vol 2: The nervous system: motor control, part 1. Am Physiol Soc, Bethesda, pp 345–422

    Google Scholar 

  • Clamann HP (1970) Activity of single motor units during isometric tension. Neurology 20:256–260

    Google Scholar 

  • Diemont B, Maranzana Figini M, Orizio C, Perini R, Veicsteinas A (1987a) Testing algorithms for appropriate spectral analysis of muscular sound. Proceedings of the 7th Nordic Meeting on Medical and Biological Engeneering, Trondheim, Norway. Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Trondheim, pp 147–148

    Google Scholar 

  • Diemont B, Maranzana Figini M, Orizio C, Perini R, Veicsteinas A (1987b) Correlated spectral analysis of EMG and muscular sound (SMG) for the study of motor firing pattern. Proceedings of the IEEE/EMBS 9th Annual Conference, Boston, USA, vol 1. IEEE Publisher, New York, pp 341–342

    Google Scholar 

  • Dixon WJ (1983) BMPD Statistical software. University of California Press, Berkeley

    Google Scholar 

  • Edwards RHT (1981) Human muscle function and fatigue. In: Porter R, Whelan J (eds) Human muscle fatigue: physiological mechanisms. Pitman, London, p 10

    Google Scholar 

  • Enoka RM, Stuart DG (1985) The contribution of neuroscience to exercise studies. Fed Proc 44:2279–2285

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Frangioni JV, Kwan-Gett TS, Dobrunz LE, McMahon TA (1987) The mechanism of low-frequency sound production in muscle. Biophys J 51:775–783

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Freund HJ (1983) Motor unit and muscle activity in voluntary motor control. Physiol Rev 63:387–436

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Gordon G, Holbourn AHS (1948) The sounds from single motor units in a contracting muscle. J Physiol 107:456–464

    Google Scholar 

  • Gydikov A, Kosarov D (1974) Some features of different motor units in human biceps brachii. Pflügers Arch 347:75–88

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Helmholtz HLF (1864) Ueber den Muskelton. Monatsber Akad Wiss Berl 5:307–310

    Google Scholar 

  • Kuroda E, Klissouras V, Milsum JH (1970) Electrical and metabolic activities and fatigue in human isometric contraction. J Appl Physiol 29:358–367

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Moritani T, Muro M (1987) Motor unit activity and surface electromyogram power spectrum during increasing force of contraction. Eur J Appl Physiol 56:260–265

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Oster G (1984) Muscle sounds. Sci Am 250:108–114

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Oster G, Jaffe JS (1980) Low frequency sounds from sustained contraction of human skeletal muscle. Biophys J 30:119–128

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Rhatigan BA, Mylrea KC, Lonsdale E, Stern LZ (1986) Investigation of sounds produced by healthy and diseased human muscular contraction. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng BME 33:967–971

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Sadamoto T, Bonde-Petersen F, Suzuki Y (1983) Skeletal muscle tension, flow, pressure, and EMG during sustained isometric contractions in humans. Eur J Appl Physiol 51:395–408

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Sejersted OM, Hargens AR, Kardel KR, Blom P, Jensen O, Hermansen L (1984) Intramuscular fluid pressure during isometric contraction of human skeletal muscle. J Appl Physiol 56:287–295

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Wollaston WH (1810) On the duration of muscle action. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 1–5

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Orizio, C., Perini, R. & Veicsteinas, A. Muscular sound and force relationship during isometric contraction in man. Europ. J. Appl. Physiol. 58, 528–533 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02330708

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02330708

Key words

  • Muscle sound
  • Isometric contraction
  • Motor unit activation pattern