“To its detriment, electromyography is too easy to use and consequently too easy to abuse.”

Professor Carlo De Luca, The Use of Surface Electromyography in Biomechanics, J. Applied Biomechanics, 1997
Carlo J. De Luca

Electromyography (EMG) is a useful tool in many applications for allowing users to gain an understanding into how the neuromuscular system helps to keep us moving through the world. Muscles play a vital role in daily tasks and investigating their contributions to movement allows researchers, clinicians, sport scientists and health professionals to solve questions within human movement sciences.

However, as with many tools and technologies, appropriate implementation of the EMG technology and care during interpretation of the data must be taken. The best way to mitigate against misuse is through education. Through learning and appreciating factors and concepts behind the application of electromyography (EMG), we can better guide our use of technology and further the exploration of neural control.

We have put together a list of useful resources that will help build an introductory understanding of the uses and applications of EMG.

ISBS Lecture Series – EMG (Electromyography) in Biomechanics 

An overview of electromyography (EMG) techniques and application within sports biomechanics. Topics include:

  • Foundation of neural control
  • EMG challenges and recommendations
  • EMG data collection
  • EMG Analysis
  • Exploring motor unit control

Interactive Teaching Tools for Biomechanics and Physiology

A key step for understanding the application of EMG is to explore the fundamental constructs that govern signal acquisition, processing and analysis. Dr Jennifer Martay (Anglia Ruskin University, UK) and Dr Hugo Martay have created interactive tools to introduce the basics of EMG data acquisition and analysis.

The interactive tools include:

Dr Jennifer Martay
Dr Jennifer MartaySenior Lecturer

“The EMG simulation tool was created during the pandemic, to allow individuals to interactively learn about EMG signals while the labs were closed for lockdown.  The labs are open again, and the tools continue to help users understand some of the basic principles behind EMG.

The tools should allow students to interactively test concepts that they learn in class. This interactive approach should allow students to study data visualization in a context that stimulates curiosity and creativity, which are important elements for learning.”

Further Reading

Basics of Practical EMG Application

Put together by The Biomechanist group, this article will give you a rough overview of the applications of electromyography. It covers the following topics:

  • What is Electromyography (EMG)?
  • Basic Principles
  • Influences on the sEMG signal and how to reduce them
  • Measurement preparation
  • Post-processing steps
  • Data analysis

EMG Analysis Tutorial Videos

These YouTube videos were created with the intention of providing an introduction as to why and how to use the different analysis techniques within the EMGworks Analysis software. The videos cover:

  • An introduction to the software and basic operations
  • EMG amplitude analysis
  • EMG timing analysis

Practical Advice for Teaching with EMG Decomposition

Motor Unit decomposition has been an attractive notion to further our understanding of neural control. However, until recently, methodologies have been complex and involved invasive techniques. This recent paper demonstrates how advancements within technologies can ease the practical implementation of motor unit decomposition for fundamental concepts in exercise physiology and biomechanics.

A Curated, Public List Collecting Resources for Biomechanics and Human Motion

An outstanding publicly available list of resources, expertly put together by Luca Modenese for anyone interested in biomechanics. Hosted on GitHub, the resources can be added to from contributors and enables researchers to be able to obtain open-access content for learning, teaching and professional development.

Resources include:

  • Data Sets
  • Processing Tools
  • Software for Simulation
  • Educational Videos
  • Lectures

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