Sonomyographic responses during voluntary isometric ramp contraction of the human rectus femoris muscle

Xin Chen, Yongping Zheng, Jing Yi Guo, Zhenyu Zhu, Shing Chow Chan, Zhiguo Zhang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


This paper aims to investigate the relationship between torque and muscle morphological change, which is derived from ultrasound image sequence and termed as sonomyography (SMG), during isometric ramp contraction of the rectus femoris (RF) muscle, and to further compare SMG with the electromyography (EMG) and mechanomyography (MMG), which represent the electrical and mechanical activities of the muscle. Nine subjects performed isometric ramp contraction of knee up to 90% of the maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) at speeds of 45, 22.5 and 15% MVC/s, and EMG, MMG and ultrasonography were simultaneously recorded from the RF muscle. Cross-sectional area, which was referred to as SMG, was automatically extracted from continuously captured ultrasound images using a newly developed image tracking algorithm. Polynomial regression analyses were applied to fit the EMG/MMG/SMG-to-torque relationships, and the regression coefficients of EMG, MMG, and SMG were compared. Moreover, the effect of contraction speed on SMG/EMG/MMG-to-torque relationships was tested by pair-wise comparisons of the mean relationship curves at different speeds for EMG, MMG and SMG. The results show that continuous SMG could provide important morphological parameters of continuous muscle contraction. Compared with EMG and MMG, SMG exhibits different changing patterns with the increase of torque during voluntary isometric ramp contraction, and it is less influenced by the contraction speed. This article is published with open access at
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2603-2614
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2012


  • Contraction speed
  • Cross-sectional area
  • Electromyography
  • Isometric contraction
  • Mechanomyography
  • Sonomyography
  • Ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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