Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2018) 17, 205 - 215

Research article
Validity and Reliability of Surface Electromyography Measurements from a Wearable Athlete Performance System
Scott K. Lynn1, , Casey M. Watkins2, Megan A. Wong3, Katherine Balfany1, Daniel F. Feeney4
Author Information
1 Center for Sport Performance, Department of Kinesiology, California State University Fullerton, Fullerton, CA, USA
2 Aukland University of Technology, Strength and Conditioning, Auckland, NZ
3 Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, UK
4 Department of Integrative Physiology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA

Scott K. Lynn
✉ Center for Sport Performance, Department of Kinesiology, CSUF, 800 N State College Blvd, Fullerton, CA, USA
Publish Date
Received: 16-12-2017
Accepted: 27-02-2018
Published (online): 14-05-2018
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The Athos ® wearable system integrates surface electromyography (sEMG ) electrodes into the construction of compression athletic apparel. The Athos system reduces the complexity and increases the portability of collecting EMG data and provides processed data to the end user. The objective of the study was to determine the reliability and validity of Athos as compared with a research grade sEMG system. Twelve healthy subjects performed 7 trials on separate days (1 baseline trial and 6 repeated trials). In each trial subjects wore the wearable sEMG system and had a research grade sEMG system’s electrodes placed just distal on the same muscle, as close as possible to the wearable system’s electrodes. The muscles tested were the vastus lateralis (VL), vastus medialis (VM), and biceps femoris (BF). All testing was done on an isokinetic dynamometer. Baseline testing involved performing isometric 1 repetition maximum tests for the knee extensors and flexors and three repetitions of concentric-concentric knee flexion and extension at MVC for each testing speed: 60, 180, and 300 deg/sec. Repeated trials 2-7 each comprised 9 sets where each set included three repetitions of concentric-concentric knee flexion-extension. Each repeated trial (2-7) comprised one set at each speed and percent MVC (50%, 75%, 100%) combination. The wearable system and research grade sEMG data were processed using the same methods and aligned in time. The amplitude metrics calculated from the sEMG for each repetition were the peak amplitude, sum of the linear envelope, and 95th percentile. Validity results comprise two main findings. First, there is not a significant effect of system (Athos or research grade system) on the repetition amplitude metrics (95%, peak, or sum). Second, the relationship between torque and sEMG is not significantly different between Athos and the research grade system. For reliability testing, the variation across trials and averaged across speeds was 0.8%, 7.3%, and 0.2% higher for Athos from BF, VL and VM, respectively. Also, using the standard deviation of the MVC normalized repetition amplitude, the research grade system showed 10.7% variability while Athos showed 12%. The wearable technology (Athos) provides sEMG measures that are consistent with controlled, research grade technologies and data collection procedures.

Key words: Wearable technology, electromyography, EMG, Athos

           Key Points
  • Surface EMG embedded into athletic garments (Athos) had similar validity and reliability when compared with a research grade system
  • There was no difference in the torque-EMG relationship between the two systems
  • No statistically significant difference in reliability across 6 trials between the two systems
  • The validity and reliability of Athos demonstrates the potential for sEMG to be applied in dynamic rehabilitation and sports settings
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