Reproducibility of isometric trunk extension torque, trunk extensor endurance, and related electromyographic parameters in the context of their clinical applicability

J Orthop Res. 1996 Jan;14(1):139-43. doi: 10.1002/jor.1100140122.


Testing the capacity of the trunk extensor muscles may be useful in the diagnosis of low back pain. In the present study, the reproducibility of measurements of maximum trunk extension force, trunk extension endurance, and related electromyographic parameters was investigated. Intraclass correlations indicated that the reproducibility of maximum force and endurance time was satisfactory. Nevertheless, the smallest difference in these parameters that could be attributed, with 95% confidence, to a change in the condition of a patient was, in general, more than 20%. On the electromyograms, the slopes of amplitude and frequency content appeared to be related to endurance time. The reproducibility of these parameters in terms of the intraclass correlation was again satisfactory; however, the smallest detectable difference generally exceeded 50%. The clinical applicability of the parameters studied is severely limited by a lack of reproducibility.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Physical Endurance*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Thorax / physiology*