The contractile properties and conduction velocity of motor units are estimated by using surface array electrodes during voluntary isometric contractions of the human vastus lateralis muscle. The subjects develop and maintain sufficient force to steadily discharge a given motor unit, assisted by visual feedback from an oscilloscope. The torque curve developed around the knee joint is triggered by an individual motor unit and averaged. 31 motor units in five subects are studied. The twitch tension detected ranges from 3 to 27 m Nm with a mean of 12·3 m Nm. The threshold force ranges from 1·88 to 10·12 Nm with a mean of 5·48 Nm, which is 3% of the maximal voluntary contraction. The rise time ranges from 56 to 106 ms with a mean of 83 ms. The mean value of conduction velocity is 4·64 m s-1. The twitch tension is positively correlated to the threshold force (r=0·839, p<0.01), but has no relation to the other parameters. It is concluded that the use of non-invasive surface array electrodes provides the contractile properties of motor units and muscle fibre conduction velocity during weak contractions.
- Contractile properties
- Motor unit
- Muscle fibre conduction velocity
- Surface electromyography
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering
- Computer Science Applications