The electromyographic threshold in children: Differences in neuromuscular activation during progressive exercise between boys and men
The electromyographic threshold (EMGTh), defined as an upward inflexion in the rising EMG signal during progressive exercise, is thought to reflect the onset of increased type-II MU recruitment. The study’s objective was to compare the relative exercise intensity at which the EMGTh occurs in boys vs. men. Participants included 21 men (23.4±4.1 yrs) and 23 boys (11.1±1.1 yrs). Ramped cycle-ergometry was conducted to volitional exhaustion with surface EMG recorded from the vastus lateralis muscles. The EMGTh was mathematically determined using a composite of both legs. EMGTh was detected in 95.2% of the men and in 78.3% of the boys (χ2(1, n=44) =2.69, p =.10). The boys’ EMGTh was significantly higher than the men’s (86.4±9.6 vs. 79.7±10.0% of peak power-output at exhaustion; p <.05). These findings suggest that boys activate their type-II MUs to a lesser extent than men during progressive exercise and support the hypothesis of differential child–adult MU activation.