The purpose of the present study was to compare monopolar and bipolar recording techniques for the patterns of responses and mean values for absolute and normalized electromyographic (EMG) amplitude and mean power frequency (MPF) versus isometric torque for the vastus lateralis muscle. Ten healthy men (mean ± S.D. age = 23.6 ± 3.0 years; body weight = 80.9 ± 15.6 kg) volunteered to perform submaximal to maximal isometric muscle actions of the dominant leg extensors. Monopolar and bipolar surface EMG signals were detected simultaneously from the vastus lateralis with an eight-channel linear electrode array. The results indicated that in 70-80% of the cases, monopolar and bipolar recording techniques resulted in the same patterns of responses for absolute and normalized EMG amplitude and MPF versus isometric torque. There were, however, differences between the two techniques for mean absolute EMG amplitude and MPF values, but not for the normalized values. Thus, these results supported the practice of normalization, and suggested that comparisons can be made between monopolar and bipolar recording methods for the patterns of responses and mean values for normalized (but not absolute) EMG amplitude and MPF versus isometric torque.
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