Document Type


Publication Date



Our purpose was to characterize the relationship between EMG mean power frequency (MPF) or median frequency (MF) and rate of torque development in voluntary ballistic and electrically elicited isometric contractions. Twenty-three healthy adults participated in two sets of experiments performed on elbow flexor muscles. For Experiment 1, subjects were asked to generate voluntary ballistic contractions by reaching four different target torque levels (20, 40, 60 and 100% of the maximal voluntary contraction (MVC)) as fast as they could. For Experiment 2, electrical (M-waves) and mechanical (twitches) responses to electrical stimulation of the nerves supplying the biceps brachii and brachioradialis muscles were recorded with the subjects at rest and with a background isometric contraction of 15% MVC. MPF, MF and rate of torque development (% MVC/s) were calculated for both voluntary and elicited contractions. Significant positive correlations were observed between MPF and rate of torque development for the voluntary contractions, whereas significant negative correlations were observed between the two variables for elicited contractions. This suggests that factors other than muscle fiber composition influence the frequency content of EMG signals and/or the rate of torque development, and that the effect of these factors will vary between voluntary and elicited contractions.  2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.


Originally published in Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, Volume 12, Issue 2, April 2002, Pages 137-145.