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“The Use of EMG to Determine the Electrical Activity Differences between Concentric and Eccentric Contractions Along With the Correlation of Other Factors” By: Autumn Minor with Dr. B. Hamilton Waynesburg University Department of Biology

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“The Use of EMG to Determine the Electrical Activity Differences between Concentric and Eccentric Contractions Along With the Correlation of Other Factors”

By: Autumn Minor with Dr. B. Hamilton

Waynesburg University Department of Biology

ABSTRACT: This investigation addressed the differences between the electrical activities of a concentric (shortening) muscle contraction versus an eccentric (lengthening) muscle contraction through electromyography (EMG) in the human biceps, brachioradialis, and deltoid muscles. I also sought to determine if muscle strength, subcutaneous fat or mass of the subject had any bearing on the results. The hypothesis of the research states that the concentric muscle contractions will show higher electrical activity on the EMG than the eccentric contractions. With this finding, fitness trainers and rehabilitation experts may want to revamp exercise programs to focus more extensively on the eccentric contraction. The original hypothesis proved to be correct. With twenty-nine human subjects, in every instance, the concentric contraction generated more electrical activity than the eccentric contraction. However, other factors such as the maximum strength, subcutaneous fat of the bicep, and body mass assumed no correlations with the EMG data gathered. In conclusion, the research was successful in proving the electrical activity differences; however, various other correlations were found unsuccessful throughout the data accumulated in the investigation.

INTRODUCTION: This investigation focuses on important physiological concepts. Neuromuscular transmission, the firing of action potentials in the muscle, and cross bridge cycling are the basic foundations behind electromyography (EMG). The research focuses on two types of muscle contractions: the concentric contraction and the eccentric contraction. General knowledge reveals that performing a concentric contraction, such as walking up stairs, is more difficult than performing the eccentric contraction, walking down the stairs. This allowed for my hypothesis to develop. I believe the concentric contraction should show more electrical activity in the EMG than the eccentric contraction.

With the use of 29 human subjects, the research focused on three muscles: the biceps, the brachioradialis, and the deltoid. With a seven pound dumbbell, a bicep curl using both the concentric and eccentric motions was used to measure electrical activity of the biceps and brachioradialis, while a lateral shoulder raise was used for the deltoid.

RESULTS CONTINUED: GRAPH 3

  • CONCLUSIONS:
  • The average concentric contraction produced more electrical activity than the eccentric contraction in each of the three muscles studied (biceps, brachioradialis, and deltoid) in both the EMG area and the EMG amplitude.
  • There appears to be no correlation between the EMG readings of amplitude (maximal electrical activity) and strength (maximum effort) in any of the three muscles.
  • There also appears to be no correlation between subcutaneous fat on the bicep and EMG amplitude in any of three muscles investigated. Only the graph of the biceps is shown; however, the two other muscle groups revealed similar results.
  • There is no correlation between the EMG readings of amplitude and body mass (weight) of the subject in any of the three muscles studied.
  • THE FITNESS REALM: The major thesis of the research stated that the concentric contraction created more electrical activity, both area and amplitude, than the eccentric contraction. Personal trainers and rehabilitation professionals may want to study this when working on strengthening individuals. People may want to focus more on a workout centered around eccentric contractions. This could allow injured individuals to become stronger over a shorter time period along with experiencing less pain. I would be interested to see further research focused on training individuals over a period of time using both methods. This type of research would be an interesting investigation.
  • ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: I would like to take the time to give a special thanks to Waynesburg University department of biology for giving me the funds and supplies needed to perform my research. I would like to thank Dr. Brian Hamilton, professor of physiology, for all his help in planning and performing the research. I also would like to thank all of my subjects who willingly participated in the research. Without each of you, this project would not have been a success.
  • INTRODUCTION CONTINUED: The EMG measured both area and amplitude, area being the sum of the mechanical activity of the muscle during the contraction and amplitude being the maximum electrical activity. The measurement of the electrical activity provided means for the main area of investigation of the research; however, the investigation also correlated EMG amplitude with maximum strength (by performing maximum effort curl and raise preliminaries in each subject), with subcutaneous fat measurements of the bicep, and the subject’s body mass to determine any differences in EMG readings.
  • The research was done to help aid in the fitness realm. If the concentric contraction did prove to have higher electrical activities than the eccentric contraction, personal trainers and rehabilitation experts may want to focus more on the eccentric motion to help in training and rehab.
  • AIMS:
  • To investigate whether the concentric contraction revealed more electrical activity than the eccentric contraction.
  • To use the above information to aid the fitness realm in the development of training and rehabilitation techniques involving a more eccentric contraction centered work-out.
  • To correlate strength of the subject with his/her EMG amplitude.
  • To correlate subcutaneous fat of the subject with EMG amplitude.
  • To correlate subject’s body mass with EMG amplitude.
  • METHODS:
  • I received participation from 29 subjects (WU students) and asked for each subject to complete a simple survey involving age, weight, and activity level participation.
  • Each subject performed a maximum effort bicep curl and lateral shoulder raise in the fitness center.
  • Each subject was taken to the lab where first, the bicep muscle was hooked to three electrodes (one being the ground electrode).
  • The BIOPAC EMG software was used to measure the subject’s electrical activity during the concentric and eccentric contraction of a bicep curl using a seven pound dumbbell.
  • The process was repeated with the brachioradialis.
  • The process was again repeated with the deltoid and with a lateral shoulder raise rather than a bicep curl.
  • The subcutaneous fat of the subject’s bicep was measured with a skin fold caliper.
  • Results were confidentially compiled and analyzed.

RESULTS

GRAPH 1:

Graph 3 represents the correlations between EMG amplitude and maximum effort for all three muscle groups. The graph reveals relatively straight trendlines, which proves there is no correlation between strength and EMG readings.

GRAPH 4:

Graph 1 shows the values for EMG area of the three muscle groups. On the far left is the biceps muscle concentric contraction, followed by the eccentric contraction. Next is the brachioradialis and finally the deltoid. The y-error bars represent the standard error of the mean.

GRAPH 2:

Graph 4 reveals the relationship between subcutaneous fat measurement of the bicep and EMG concentric amplitude in the bicep. The graph shows a straight trendline, which reveals no correlation.

GRAPH 5:

Graph 5 represents the relationship between body mass in pounds versus EMG amplitude in the biceps. The graph shows a straight trendline and reveals no correlation.

Graph 2 is set up in accordance with Graph 1. Graph 2 represents EMG Amplitude.