Perceptual and motor effects of agonist-antagonist muscle vibration in man

Exp Brain Res. 1986;61(2):395-402. doi: 10.1007/BF00239528.


Perceptual and motor effects of vibration applied simultaneously to the distal tendons of the Biceps and Triceps muscles, in isometric conditions and without sight of the stimulated arm, have been studied in human volunteers. Motor effects, measured by surface EMG, are inexistent when the flexor and extensor muscles are simultaneously vibrated at the same frequency. However, EMG activity appears in the muscle being vibrated at the lower frequency when simultaneous vibration is applied at different frequencies. The sensations felt by the subjects were reproduced by the nonvibrated arm and recorded by a goniometer. The studies show that the velocity and the amplitude of the ilusory movement is related to the difference in vibration frequency applied to the two muscles. The direction of movement felt (flexion or extension) is that produced by shortening of the muscle being vibrated at the lower frequency. When the two vibration frequencies are the same, there is either no sensation of movement, or a sensation of very slow movement. These results support the notion that the sensation of movement at a joint may be derived from a central processing of the proprioceptive inflow data obtained from flexor and extensor muscles. This interpretation may also be valid for the results obtained earlier by vibration of a single muscle. Furthermore, it is coherent with data on spindle afferent fibres obtained by microneurography in man during passive or active movements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Illusions / physiology*
  • Kinesthesis / physiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscles / physiology*
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology
  • Proprioception
  • Tendons / physiology
  • Vibration*