Torque-onset determination: Unintended consequences of the threshold method.


BACKGROUND Compared with visual torque-onset-detection (TOD), threshold-based TOD produces onset bias, which increases with lower torques or rates of torque development (RTD). PURPOSE To compare the effects of differential TOD-bias on common contractile parameters in two torque-disparate groups. METHODS Fifteen boys and 12 men performed maximal, explosive, isometric knee-extensions. Torque and EMG were recorded for each contraction. Best contractions were selected by peak torque (MVC) and peak RTD. Visual-TOD-based torque-time traces, electromechanical delays (EMD), and times to peak RTD (tRTD) were compared with corresponding data derived from fixed 4-Nm- and relative 5%MVC-thresholds. RESULTS The 5%MVC TOD-biases were similar for boys and men, but the corresponding 4-Nm-based biases were markedly different (40.3±14.1 vs. 18.4±7.1ms, respectively; p<0.001). Boys-men EMD differences were most affected, increasing from 5.0ms (visual) to 26.9ms (4Nm; p<0.01). Men's visually-based torque kinetics tended to be faster than the boys' (NS), but the 4-Nm-based kinetics erroneously depicted the boys as being much faster to any given %MVC (p<0.001). CONCLUSIONS When comparing contractile properties of dissimilar groups, e.g., children vs. adults, threshold-based TOD methods can misrepresent reality and lead to erroneous conclusions. Relative-thresholds (e.g., 5% MVC) still introduce error, but group-comparisons are not confounded.

DOI: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2016.08.017

Cite this paper

@article{Dotan2016TorqueonsetDU, title={Torque-onset determination: Unintended consequences of the threshold method.}, author={Raffy Dotan and Glenn Jenkins and Thomas D O'brien and Steve Hansen and B Falk}, journal={Journal of electromyography and kinesiology : official journal of the International Society of Electrophysiological Kinesiology}, year={2016}, volume={31}, pages={7-13} }