There is evidence of the crucial involvement of the motor system in language understanding and production. We tested whether reading verbs that symbolized various actions would lead to an effector-specific modulation in subliminal muscle activity. Participants were lying in a relaxed position, and read a sequence of verbs while surface EMG was recorded of two upper body muscles (deltoideus and biceps brachii) and two lower body muscles (tibialis anterior and vastus medialis). The semantic category of the words had little effect on spontaneous muscle activity. The results are discussed in terms of shared neural circuits related to motoric and linguistic processing. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.