Send to

Choose Destination
Exp Brain Res. 2001 Sep;140(2):171-81.

Relationship between cocontraction, movement kinematics and phasic muscle activity in single-joint arm movement.

Author information

Kinjo Gakuin University, Nagoya, Japan.


Patterns of muscle coactivation provide a window into mechanisms of limb stabilization. In the present paper we have examined muscle coactivation in single-joint elbow and single-joint shoulder movements and explored its relationship to movement velocity and amplitude, as well as phasic muscle activation patterns. Movements were produced at several speeds and different amplitudes, and muscle activity and movement kinematics were recorded. Tonic levels of electromyographic (EMG) activity following movement provided a measure of muscle cocontraction. It was found that coactivation following movement increased with maximum joint velocity at each of two amplitudes. Phasic EMG activity in agonist and antagonist muscles showed a similar correlation that was observable even during the first 30 ms of muscle activation. All subjects but one showed statistically significant correlations on a trial-by-trial basis between tonic and phasic activity levels, including the phasic activity measure taken at the initiation of movement. Our findings provide direct evidence that muscle coactivation varies with movement velocity. The data also suggest that cocontraction is linked in a simple manner to phasic muscle activity. The similarity in the patterns of tonic and phasic activation suggests that the nervous system may use a simple strategy to adjust coactivation and presumably limb impedance in association with changes in movement speed. Moreover, since the pattern of tonic activity varies with the first 30 ms of phasic activity, the control of cocontraction may be established prior to movement onset.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center