Sport Sciences for Health

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 591–597 | Cite as

Effects of pennation angle, electrodes orientation and knee angle on surface electromyography of vastus lateralis during isometric contractions

  • Felipe Torres Miranda Oliveira
  • Carlos Gomes de OliveiraEmail author
  • Walace David Monteiro
  • Paulo Farinatti
Original Article



The effects of pennation angle (PA), electrode orientation (EO) and knee angle (KA) on the amplitude of electromyography signal (EMG) of vastus lateralis muscle (VL) were investigated.


Seventeen participants (8 men and 9 women; 26.5 ± 5.1 years; 64.4 ± 12.3 kg; 1.66 ± 0.09 m) accomplished isometric tests at four contraction intensities (COI): 25, 50, 75 and 100% of maximum voluntary contraction (MVC), with KA at 90° and 120°. PA was measured at rest and during contractions. One pair of electrodes was aligned with PA of relaxed VL fibers (pair 1) and another (pair 2) was 20° internally rotated to pair 1. The EMG root mean square (RMS) was calculated and later corrected (RMSC) using equations including PA and 20° angle.


PA increased with COI (p < 0.001), but was not influenced by KA. Both RMS and RMSC were higher with KA at 90° than 120° (p < 0.01). RMS, but not RMSC were higher from pair 1 in COI at 50 and 75% MVC (p < 0.05). Correlations between outcomes obtained with pair 1 and pair 2 were stronger for RMSC (r = 0.99; p < 0.001) than RMS (r = 0.93; p < 0.01). No effect of KA or COI was detected for RMS or RMSC expressed as %MVC (p > 0.05).


The PA can be used to improve RMS estimation and further expressed as %MVC maybe promisor in EMG–force related issues. Association between EMG and PA appears to be dependent on their relation to COI.


Joint angle Bipolar EMG PA Electrodes orientation 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia S.r.l. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Felipe Torres Miranda Oliveira
    • 1
  • Carlos Gomes de Oliveira
    • 1
    Email author
  • Walace David Monteiro
    • 2
    • 3
  • Paulo Farinatti
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.EEFD, Lab. De BiomecânicaUniversidade Federal do Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil
  2. 2.LABSAU, Universidade do Estado do Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil
  3. 3.PGCAF, Universidade Salgado de OliveiraNiteróiBrazil

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