Can visual feedback on upper trapezius high-density surface electromyography increase time to task failure of an endurance task?

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Colleges, School and Institutes


We investigate whether visual feedback on the spatial distribution of upper trapezius muscle activity can prolong time to task failure of sustained shoulder abduction. Surface electromyographic signals were acquired with a 13x5 grid of high-density electromyography (HDEMG) electrodes from the right upper trapezius muscle of 12 healthy volunteers as they performed sustained isometric shoulder abduction at 20% of their maximum voluntary contraction torque (MVC) until volitional exhaustion. Data were collected in two sessions; one with HDEMG visual feedback on the spatial distribution of upper trapezius activity and one without feedback. Although the HDEMG amplitude maps could be voluntarily modified by the participants during the feedback condition (significant shift in the barycenter of activity towards the cranial direction, P=0.038), this did not influence endurance time (total endurance time with HDEMG feedback: 149.01 ± 77.07 s, no feedback 141.74 ± 60.93 s, P=0.532). Future studies should assess whether endurance performance can be enhanced by allowing changes in arm position during the task (changing fiber tension-length relationships), by providing a more individual motor strategy, and/or by manipulating the colours used for the HDEMG maps (lighter colours for higher contraction intensities).


Original languageEnglish
Article number102361
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of electromyography and kinesiology : official journal of the International Society of Electrophysiological Kinesiology
Early online date1 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • biofeedback, muscle activity, fatigue, trapezius muscle