Consistency of rapid muscle force characteristics: Influence of muscle contraction onset detection methodology

Brennan J. Thompson, Eric D. Ryan, Trent J. Herda, Pablo B. Costa, Ashley A. Walter, Eric J. Sobolewski, Joel T. Cramer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to investigate the consistency of commonly reported rapid force characteristics utilizing both automated and manual muscle contraction onset detection methods. Twenty-four healthy volunteers performed isometric strength testing of the plantar flexor muscle group on two nonconsecutive days. Test-retest reliability was evaluated using intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs), standard errors of measurement (SEM), and the SEM as a percentage of the mean (SEM%) for rate of force development (RFD), relative RFD, contractile impulse, and absolute force-time values at various epoch durations using automated and manual onset detection methods. For all rapid force variables, ICC and SEM% values ranged from 0.52 to 0.96 and 7.56% to 37.56%, respectively. For the majority of these variables (20 of 23), the automated onset detection method resulted in higher ICC and lower SEM% values compared to the manual onset detection method. Regardless of onset detection methodology, the consistency of relative RFD values declined following 50% of MVC. Collectively, these findings indicated that commonly evaluated rapid muscle force variables demonstrated acceptable relative and absolute consistency values. However, these values were generally superior for the automated onset detection methodology. Additionally, the consistency of relative RFD values declines following 50% MVC and therefore should be evaluated with caution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)893-900
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Electromyography and Kinesiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • Force-time curve
  • Muscle strength
  • Plantar flexors
  • Reliability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Biophysics
  • Clinical Neurology


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