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J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2005 Aug;15(4):418-28. Epub 2004 Dec 25.

Normalization procedures using maximum voluntary isometric contractions for the serratus anterior and trapezius muscles during surface EMG analysis.

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Department of Physical Therapy, University of South Dakota, 414 East Clark Street, Vermillion, SD 57069, USA.


The serratus anterior and trapezius muscles are considered to be the only upward rotators of the scapula and are very important for normal shoulder function. A variety of methods have been used to produce a maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) of these muscles for normalization of EMG data. The purpose of this study was to quantify the surface EMG activity of the serratus anterior muscle and the upper, middle, and lower parts of the trapezius during 9 manual muscle tests performed with maximum effort in 30 subjects. It was found that no one muscle test produced a MVIC for all individuals. Therefore, to perform normalization within each subject, it is suggested that the 2 or 3 tests identified in this study that produce high levels of EMG activity for each muscle be performed. The scapular protraction muscle test that is often used to normalize data for the serratus anterior muscle produced relatively low levels of EMG activity and was not found to be an optimal test. Muscle tests in which an attempt was made to de-rotate the scapula from an upwardly rotated position produced much higher levels of EMG activity in the serratus anterior muscle.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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