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Electromyography (EMGs)


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Roadblocks in interpreting some of the EMG research

  • EMG differences in one muscle group is not always meaningful.

Forces transfer.

  • The impact of associated muscle forces depends on the size and type of the muscle group.
Muscle activity isn’t necessarily bad. People should use their muscles. When they don’t, they slump for example.
  • Surface muscles and deep muscles are measured differently.
For more on differences in electromyography read Questions to ask when interpreting surface EMG research by Dennis Ankrum, or the NIOSH review of the surface EMG research (scanned OCR version).
  • Electromyography research often confuses static load and static tasks.
For more on this topic, read About the EMG confusion  by Dennis Ankrum.
  • EMG differences may be statistically significant but irrelevant.
  • EMG studies can be expensive, often ten or twenty times that of the stadiometer.
Of course, this simplifies a complicated issue.  EMGs can and do provide valid, reliable and meaningful results.  Even so, use EMG research with caution; some / much of it is difficult to interpret or confounded.

Download NIOSH’s expert review "Selected topics in surface EMGs" (6 MB pdf).
This is the OCR scanned /searchable version of the NIOSH’s website report.


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