Peak triceps surae muscle activity is not specific to knee flexion angles during MVIC

Document Type




Format of Original

8 p.

Publication Date




Source Publication

Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology

Source ISSN


Original Item ID

doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2011.04.009


There is limited research on peak activity of the separate triceps surae muscles in select knee flexion (KF) positions during a maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) used to normalize EMG signals. The aim of this study was to determine how frequent peak activity occurred during an MVIC for soleus (SOL), gastrocnemius medialis (GM), and gastrocnemius lateralis (GL) in select KF positions, and if these peaks were recorded in similar KF positions. Forty-eight healthy individuals performed unilateral plantar-flexion MVIC in standing with 0°KF and 45°KF, and in sitting with 90°KF. Surface EMG of SOL, GM, and GL were collected and processed in 250 ms epochs to determine peak root-mean-square amplitude. Peak activity was most frequently captured in standing and rarely in sitting, with no position selective to SOL, GM or GL activity. Peak GM and GL activity was more frequent in 0°KF than 45°KF, and more often in similar KF positions than not. Peak SOL activity was just as likely in 45°KF as 0°KF, and more in positions similar to GM, but not GL. The EMG amplitudes were at least 20% greater in positions that captured peak activity over those that did not. The overall findings support performing an MVIC in more than one KF position to normalize triceps surae EMG. It is emphasized that no KF position is selective to SOL, GM, or GL alone.


Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, Volume 21, Issue 5, pp 819–826 (October, 2011). DOI: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2011.04.009