Activation of the Shoulder Belt and Shoulder Muscles of Humans Related to Different Rates of Generation of Two-Joint Efforts by the Forearm

Research paper by I. V. Vereshchaka

Indexed on: 05 Apr '11Published on: 05 Apr '11Published in: Neurophysiology


We studied coordination of central motor commands (CMCs) coming to the muscles that flex and extend the shoulder and elbow joints in the course of generation of voluntary isometric efforts of different directions by the forearm. Dependences of the characteristics of these commands on the direction of the effort and rate of its generation were analyzed. Amplitudes of rectified and averaged EMGs recorded from a number of shoulder belt and shoulder muscles were considered correlates of the CMC intensity. The development of the effort of a given direction and rate of rise was realized in the horizontal-plane operational space; the arm position corresponded to the 30 deg angle in the shoulder joint (external angle with respect to the frontal plane) and 90 deg angle in the elbow joint. We plotted sector diagrams of the relative changes in the level of dynamic and stationary phases of EMG activity of the studied muscles for the entire set of directions of the efforts generated with different rates of rise. In the course of formation of rapid two-joint isometric efforts, realization of nonsynergic motor tasks (extension of one joint and flexion of another one, and vice versa) required significant activation of muscles of different functional directions for both joints. Time organization of EMG activity of extensors and flexors of the shoulder and elbow joints related to the maximum and relatively rapid generation of the effort (rise time 0.12 to 0.13 and 0.25 sec, respectively) was rather complex and included dynamic and stationary phases. With these time parameters of generation of the efforts (both flexion and extension), the appearance at the stationary effort of 40 N was controlled based on coordinated interaction of dynamic phases of the activation of agonistic and antagonistic muscles. It is concluded that CMCs coming to extensors and flexors of both joints upon generation of rapid isometric efforts are rather similar in their parameters to those under conditions of realization of the forearm movements in the space in an isotonic mode.