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. 2018 Mar 1;17(1):101-109.
eCollection 2018 Mar.

Textile Electrodes Embedded in Clothing: A Practical Alternative to Traditional Surface Electromyography When Assessing Muscle Excitation During Functional Movements

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Free PMC article

Textile Electrodes Embedded in Clothing: A Practical Alternative to Traditional Surface Electromyography When Assessing Muscle Excitation During Functional Movements

Steffi L Colyer et al. J Sports Sci Med. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Textile electromyography (EMG) electrodes embedded in clothing allow muscle excitation to be recorded in previously inaccessible settings; however, their ability to accurately and reliably measure EMG during dynamic tasks remains largely unexplored. To quantify the validity and reliability of textile electrodes, 16 recreationally active males completed two identical testing sessions, within which three functional movements (run, cycle and squat) were performed twice: once wearing EMG shorts (measuring quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteals myoelectric activity) and once with surface EMG electrodes attached to the vastus lateralis, biceps femoris and gluteus maximus. EMG signals were identically processed to provide average rectified EMG (normalized to walking) and excitation length. Results were compared across measurement systems and demonstrated good agreement between the magnitude of muscle excitation when EMG activity was lower, but agreement was poorer when excitation was higher. The length of excitation bursts was consistently longer when measured using textile vs. surface EMG electrodes. Comparable between-session (day-to-day) repeatability was found for average rectified EMG (mean coefficient of variation, CV: 42.6 and 41.2%) and excitation length (CV: 12.9 and 9.8%) when using textile and surface EMG, respectively. Additionally, similar within-session repeatability (CV) was recorded for average rectified EMG (13.8 and 14.1%) and excitation length (13.0 and 12.7%) for textile and surface electrodes, respectively. Generally, textile EMG electrodes appear to be capable of providing comparable muscle excitation information and reproducibility to surface EMG during dynamic tasks. Textile EMG shorts could therefore be a practical alternative to traditional laboratory-based methods allowing muscle excitation information to be collected in more externally-valid training environments.

Keywords: EMG; lower-limb; myoelectric activity; reliability; validity.

Figures

Figure 1.
Figure 1.
Example of raw EMG recordings for the vasti from one participant using the traditional (left) and textile (right) electrodes during the cycling (top row), running (middle row) and squatting (bottom row) exercises.
Figure 2.
Figure 2.
Length of excitation bursts (mean ± SD) during the run (A), cycle (B) and squat (C) exercise measured using traditional surface electromyography (black bars) and textile electrodes (white bars). *denotes longer excitation burst in the textile electrode trial compared with traditional surface electrode trial.
Figure 3.
Figure 3.
Average rectified EMG across one excitation burst (mean ± SD) during the run (A), cycle (B) and squat (C) exercise measured using traditional surface electromyography (black bars) and textile electrodes (white bars). *denotes higher magnitude of excitation in the traditional surface electrode trial compared with textile electrode trial.
Figure 4.
Figure 4.
Bland-Altman plots for the lengths of excitation bursts during running, cycling and squatting measured using textile (text.) and traditional surface (trad.) EMG electrodes. Each point represents one participant, solid lines denote mean differences and dotted lines denote ±2SD.
Figure 5.
Figure 5.
Bland-Altman plots for the normalized average rectified EMG during running, cycling and squatting measured using textile (text.) and traditional surface (trad.) EMG electrodes. Each point represents one participant, solid lines denote mean differences and dotted lines denote ±2SD.
Figure 6.
Figure 6.
Day-to-day reproducibility (typical error of measurement, TEM) of the length of excitation bursts for running (A), cycling (B) and squatting (C) exercise measured by traditional surface (black bars) and textile (white bars) EMG electrodes. Error bars indicate 90% confidence intervals. *denotes higher TEM in the textile vs. traditional EMG electrodes.
Figure 7.
Figure 7.
Day-to-day reproducibility (typical error of measurement, TEM) of the normalized average rectified EMG for running (A), cycling (B) and squatting (C) exercise measured by traditional surface (black bars) and textile (white bars) EMG electrodes. Error bars indicate 90% confidence intervals. *denotes higher TEM in the textile vs. traditional EMG electrodes.

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