EMG threshold determination in eight lower limb muscles during cycling exercise: a pilot study.

International journal of sports medicine

PubMedID: 16767610

Hug F, Laplaud D, Lucia A, Grelot L. EMG threshold determination in eight lower limb muscles during cycling exercise: a pilot study. Int J Sports Med. 2006;27(6):456-62.
The first aim of this study was to verify the occurrence of the EMG threshold (EMG (Th)) in each of eight lower limb muscles (vastus lateralis [VL], vatus medialis [VM], rectus femoris [RF], semimembranosus [SM], biceps femoris [BF], gastrocnemius lateralis [GL] and medialis [GM], and tibialis anterior [TA]) during incremental cycling exercise. The second aim was to investigate the test-retest reproducibility of the EMG (Th) occurrence. Six sedentary male subjects (27 +/- 1 years) performed the same incremental cycling test until exhausted, (workload increments of 25 W/min starting at 100 W) twice. During the tests, the EMG Root Mean Square (RMS) response was studied in the aforementioned muscles. The EMG (Th) was detected mathematically from the RMS vs. workload relationship. All the subjects showed an EMG (Th) in the VL muscle, and the response was reliable in both tests (246 +/- 33 W and 254 +/- 33 W for the first and second test, respectively; coefficient of variation: 9.6 %, standard error of measurement: 28.9). However, few of them showed an EMG (Th) in the other muscles, especially in RF, SM or GM. When present, the EMG (Th) occurred at 75 - 80 % of the peak power output obtained during the tests. Our results suggest that EMG (Th) determination can be used as a reliable method for studying neuromuscular adjustments in the VL of untrained individuals, but not in other lower limb muscles.