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Long-term repeatability of force, endurance time and muscle activity during isometric contractions

We determined the repeatability and correlations between force, endurance and muscle activity during isometric contractions over three years. Twenty-six subjects, with and without complaints of the shoulder and neck, performed standardized maximal and submaximal shoulder-abduction contractions and wrist extension-contractions at yearly intervals from 1997 to 1999. Peak forces developed during maximal contraction and the endurance times of submaximal contractions during shoulder abduction and wrist extension were measured. Electromyography (EMG) of muscle activity was recorded bilaterally from the upper trapezius, middle deltoid, and forearm extensor muscles. Root mean square EMG amplitudes were calculated. We found statistically significant associations between peak forces developed during wrist extension and shoulder abduction, and between endurance times of submaximal wrist extension and shoulder abduction. No statistically significant changes in peak force and EMG(peak) were found over the measurement years. The responses were not statistically significantly influenced by gender, or neck and shoulder pain. However, we observed considerable intra-individual variation in the inter-year measurements particularly for the responses to submaximal contraction. Such large variations represent a challenge when attempting to use the responses to interpret the effects of therapies.

Røe, Cecilie; Steingrimsdottir, Olof Anna; Knardahl, Stein; Bakke, Eva; Vøllestad, Nina Køpke
Journal of Electromyography & Kinesiology 16(1): 103–113
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