The general purpose of normalization of EMG amplitude is to enable comparisons between participants, muscles, measurement sessions or electrode positions. Normalization is necessary to reduce the impact of differences in physiological and anatomical characteristics of muscles and surrounding tissues. Normalization of the EMG amplitude provides information about the magnitude of muscle activation relative to a reference value. It is essential to select an appropriate method for normalization with specific reference to how the EMG signal will be interpreted, and to consider how the normalized EMG amplitude may change when interpreting it under specific conditions. This matrix, developed by the Consensus for Experimental Design in Electromyography (CEDE) project, presents six approaches to EMG normalization: (1) Maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) in same task/context as the task of interest, (2) Standardized isometric MVC (which is not necessarily matched to the contraction type in the task of interest), (3) Standardized submaximal task (isometric/dynamic) that can be task-specific, (4) Peak/mean EMG amplitude in task, (5) Non-normalized, and (6) Maximal M-wave. General considerations for normalization, features that should be reported, definitions, and “pros and cons” of each normalization approach are presented first. This information is followed by recommendations for specific experimental contexts, along with an explanation of the factors that determine the suitability of a method, and frequently asked questions. This matrix is intended to help researchers when selecting, reporting and interpreting EMG amplitude data.
- Amplitude normalization
- Muscle activation