Mechanomyographic and electromyographic responses of the vastus medialis muscle during isometric and concentric muscle actions

Jared W. Coburn, Terry J. Housh, Joel T. Cramer, Joseph P. Weir, Joshua M. Miller, Travis W. Beck, Moh H. Malek, Glen O. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to examine the patterns for the mechanomyographic (MMG) and electromyographic (EMG) amplitude and mean power frequency (MPF) vs. torque relationships during submaximal to maximal isometric and isokinetic muscle actions. Seven men (mean ± SD age, 22.4 ± 1.3 years) volunteered to perform isometric and concentric isokinetic leg extension muscle actions at 20, 40, 60, 80, and 100% of maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) and peak torque (PT) on a Cybex II dynamometer. A piezoelectric MMG recording sensor was placed between bipolar surface EMG electrodes on the vastus medialis. Polynomial regression and separate 1-way repeated-measures analysis of variance were used to analyze the EMG amplitude, MMG amplitude, EMG MPF, and MMG MPF data for the isometric and isokinetic muscle actions. For the isometric muscle actions, EMG amplitude (A2 = 0.999) and MMG MPF (A2 = 0.946) increased to MVC, mean MMG amplitude increased to 60% MVC and then plateaued, and mean EMG MPF did not change (p > 0.05) across torque levels. For the isokinetic muscle actions, EMG amplitude (R2 = 0.988) and MMG amplitude (R2 = 0.933) increased to PT, but there were no significant mean changes with torque for EMG MPF or MMG MPF. The different torque-related responses for EMG and MMG amplitude and MPF may reflect differences in the motor control strategies that modulate torque production for isometric vs. dynamic muscle actions. These results support the findings of others and suggest that isometric torque production was modulated by a combination of recruitment and firing rate, whereas dynamic torque production was modulated primarily through recruitment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)412-420
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of strength and conditioning research
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Acoustic myography
  • Electromyography
  • Mechanomyography
  • Phonomyography
  • Quadriceps

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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