Slow-time changes in human EMG muscle fatigue states are fully represented in movement kinematics

Miao Song, David B. Segala, Jonathan B. Dingwell, David Chelidze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The ability to identify physiologic fatigue and related changes in kinematics can provide an important tool for diagnosing fatigue-related injuries. This study examined an exhaustive cycling task to demonstrate how changes in movement kinematics and variability reflect underlying changes in local muscle states. Motion kinematics data were used to construct fatigue features. Their multivariate analysis, based on smooth orthogonal decomposition, was used to reconstruct physiological fatigue. Two different features composed of (1) standard statistical metrics (SSM), which were a collection of standard long-time measures, and (2) phase space warping (PSW)-based metrics, which characterized short-time variations in the phase space trajectories, were considered. Movement kinematics and surface electromyography (EMG) signals were measured from the lower extremities of seven highly trained cyclists as they cycled to voluntary exhaustion on a stationary bicycle. Mean and median frequencies from the EMG time series were computed to measure the local fatigue dynamics of individual muscles independent of the SSM- and PSW-based features, which were extracted solely from the kinematics data. A nonlinear analysis of kinematic features was shown to be essential for capturing full multidimensional fatigue dynamics. A four-dimensional fatigue manifold identified using a nonlinear PSW-based analysis of kinematics data was shown to adequately predict all EMG-based individual muscle fatigue trends. While SSM-based analyses showed similar dominant global fatigue trends, they failed to capture individual muscle activities in a low-dimensional manifold. Therefore, the nonlinear PSW-based analysis of strictly kinematic time series data directly predicted all of the local muscle fatigue trends in a low-dimensional systemic fatigue trajectory. These results provide the first direct quantitative link between changes in muscle fatigue dynamics and resulting changes in movement kinematics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Biomechanical Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Physiology (medical)


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