Comparison of electromyography parameters in quadriceps muscles of athletes and non-athletes; a case-control study

Samad Sharafi, Vahid Sobhani, Asadolah Amanolahi, Mahsa Asheghan, Mahboube Bouraghi, Ebrahim Hashemi, Amidalldin Khatibi Aghda


Background: There are a few studies that have assessed the effect of professional heavy exercise on function and physiology of skeletal muscles. Therefore, the present study aimed to compare electromyography (EMG) parameters in athletes with healthy non-athletes.

Methods: In the present case-control study 20 male professional athletes (case group) and 20 healthy non-athlete men (control group) with similar body mass index (BMI) were included. Needle EMG recording was used. EMG evaluations included 3 parameters of duration, amplitude, and polyphasic in motor unit action potential (MUAP).

Results: 20 athletes and 20 healthy non-athletes were included (mean age 26.80 ± 3.56 years). Mean duration of MUAP in athletes and non-athletes were 34.04 ± 1.08 and 24.65 ± 3.24 ms, respectively (p < 0.001). Mean amplitude was 1490.15 ± 127.53 mA in athletes group and 877.90 ± 121.16 mA in non-athletes group (p < 0.001). Mean polyphasic number in athletes and non-athletes groups were 98.35 ± 7.38 and 83.50 ± 11.54 times, respectively, which shows a significant difference between the 2 groups in this regard (p < 0.001).

Conclusion: Considering the findings of the present study, it can be concluded that in healthy professional athletes various parameters of EMG are higher compared to non-athletes. Therefore, in interpretation of their EMG, this should not be counted as abnormal. This may be the result of changes in secondary muscle fibers due to exercise.


Resistance Training; exercise; Athletes; Electromyography

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