Comparison of surface electromyography and myotonometric measurements during voluntary isometric contractions

Colm Leonard, Charles T. Leonard, Jason S. Brown, Timothy R. Price, Susan A. Queen, Eugene L. Mikhailenok

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Objectives: Muscle stiffness increases during muscle contraction. The purpose of this study was to determine the strength of the correlation between myotonometric measurements of muscle stiffness and surface electromyography (sEMG) measurements during various levels of voluntary isometric contractions of the biceps brachii muscle. Subjects: Eight subjects (four female; four male), with mean age of 30.6±8.23 years, volunteered to participate in this study. Methods: Myotonometer and sEMG measurements were taken simultaneously from the right biceps brachii muscle. Data were obtained: (1) at rest, (2) while the subject held a 15 lb (6.8 kg) weight isometrically and, (3) during a maximal voluntary isometric contraction. Myotonometer force-displacement curves (amount of tissue displacement to a given unit of force applied perpendicular to the muscle) were compared with sEMG measurements using Pearson's product-moment correlation coefficients. Results: Myotonometer and sEMG measurement correlations ranged from -0.70 to -0.90. The strongest correlations to sEMG were from Myotonometer force measurements between 1.00 and 2.00 kg. Conclusions: Myotonometer and sEMG measurements were highly correlated. Tissue stiffness, as measured by the Myotonometer, appears capable of assessing changes in muscle activation levels. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)709-714
    Number of pages5
    JournalJournal of Electromyography and Kinesiology
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004


    • Electromyography
    • Muscle strength
    • Muscle testing
    • Myotonometer
    • Rehabilitation
    • Stiffness


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