Campus Units

Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering

Document Type


Publication Version

Accepted Manuscript

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology

First Page


Research Focus Area(s)

Ergonomics and Human Factors




Decreases in the median frequency of the power spectrum and increases in amplitude measures of an electromyographic signal have been used to assess localized muscle fatigue. How these responses are affected by repetitive bouts of exertions - separated by rest breaks - is not well understood. It was hypothesized that repetitive bouts of a fatiguing, isometric exertion, separated by periods of rest, would have cumulative effects (across bouts) on the slope of these EMG-based variables, with an expectation of a steeper rate of decline in the median frequency and a steeper rate of increase in amplitude measures in subsequent bouts. To test these hypotheses, 24 participants performed four bouts of an isometric (15% MVC) elbow flexion exertion. Each exertion lasted for four minutes and then a 15-minute break was provided between bouts. Surface electromyography was used to capture the activity of the biceps brachii at twenty-second intervals during the exertions. The median frequency and average rectified value were calculated, as were the slopes of these variables within each of the four-minute bouts. Contrary to the original hypotheses, the results showed that there were no statistically significant differences in the slopes of these EMG-based measures across bouts. One direction for future work is to explore different combinations of work-rest durations to refine this response while another may be to explore alternate EMG-based measures of muscular fatigue that may be more sensitive to this cumulative effect.


This is a manuscript of an article published as Sarker, Pramiti, and Gary A. Mirka. "The Effects of Repetitive Bouts of a Fatiguing Exertion (with Breaks) on the Slope of EMG Measures of Localized Muscle Fatigue." Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology (2020): 102382. DOI: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2019.102382. Posted with permission.

Copyright Owner

Elsevier Ltd.



File Format


Published Version

Included in

Ergonomics Commons