When a pair of electrodes is applied on the skin above a muscle and the muscle is voluntary activated, an electrical signal is detected between the electrodes. It is produced by the muscle contraction as a consequence of the requested force output. To record such surface electromyography signals is quite easy, but potentially misleading if the procedure is not properly followed. The first aim of this area of research is to make the EMG analysis as much robust and informative as possible, both in isometric and dynamic conditions.

With the most recent technological advancements, namely the high-density surface EMG, we can now determine the spatial distribution of surface EMG within a muscle and studying the subtle changes that occurs while executing a complex motor task or during the course of a fatiguing exercise. Furthermore, it is also possible to separate and identify the contribution of individual motor units to the EMG signal, and thus study the rate coding of individual motor units. With these means, we are now able to non-invasively estimate the synaptic input received by the motor units and thus understand how much the muscles are excited by the central nervous system.


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