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EMG Signals Can Reveal Information Sharing between Consecutive Pedal Cycles

Pratt, Jaylene S, Ross, Stephanie A, Wakeling, James M and Hodson-Tole, Emma F (2021) EMG Signals Can Reveal Information Sharing between Consecutive Pedal Cycles. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 53 (11). pp. 2436-2444. ISSN 0195-9131

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Abstract

Purpose Producing a steady cadence and power while cycling results in fairly consistent average pedal forces for every revolution, though small fluctuations about an average force do occur. This force can be generated by several combinations of muscles, each with slight fluctuations in excitation for every pedal cycle. Fluctuations such as these are commonly thought of as random variation about average values. However, research into fluctuations of stride length and stride time during walking shows information can be contained in the order of fluctuations. This order, or structure, is thought to reveal underlying motor control strategies. Previously, we found persistent structure in the fluctuations of EMG signals during cycling using Entropic Half-Life (EnHL) analysis. These EMG signals contained fluctuations across multiple timescales, such as those within a burst of excitation, between the burst and quiescent period of a cycle, and across multiple cycles. It was not clear which sources of variation contributed to the persistent structure in the EMG. Methods In this study, we manipulated variation at different timescales in EMG intensity signals to identify the sources of structure observed during cycling. Nine participants cycled at a constant power and cadence for 30 minutes while EMG was collected from six muscles of the leg. Results We found persistent structure across multiple pedal cycles of average EMG intensities, as well as average pedal forces and durations. Additionally, we found the EnHL did not quantify fluctuations within a burst of EMG intensity; instead, it detected unstructured variation between the burst and quiescent period within a cycle. Conclusions The persistent structure in average EMG intensities suggests that fluctuations in muscle excitation are regulated from cycle to cycle.

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