Journal of Medical Systems

, 42:173 | Cite as

Location of Reference Electrode Does Not Interfere on Electromyographic Parameters in the Domains of Time and Frequency

  • Rinaldo Roberto de Jesus Guirro
  • Alcimar Barbosa Soares
  • Amanda Caldeira Guirro
  • Camila Simieli
  • Alessandra Vairo Peres Boratino
  • Gabriela de Carvalho
  • Aline Gobbi
  • Elaine Caldeira de Oliveira GuirroEmail author
Image & Signal Processing
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Image & Signal Processing


There is currently little information on the positioning of reference electrode (RE). It is generally accepted that it must be positioned on electrically neutral tissues, such as tendons or bony prominences. The objective of this study is to analyze the characteristics of the electromyographic signal (EMG) for different positions of RE as well as at different levels of muscle contraction. Signals from the brachial biceps and triceps were recorded from 18 healthy women (BMI: 21.20 kg/m2 ± 1.72; mean age: 21.94 ± 1.98 years old) during 100 and 50% maximum flexion voluntary isometric contractions, as well as at rest. For each situation, the RE was randomly positioned in 4 different locations: a) homolateral acromion; b) homolateral brachial biceps; c) styloid process of the contralateral ulna; and d) lateral malleolus of the contralateral ankle. For statistical analysis, Shapiro-Wilk and Kruskal-Wallis tests were used, followed by Dunn’s post-hoc test, at a significance level of 5% (p < 0.05). RMS, normalized RMS, PSD, median frequency and levels of energy at 60 Hz, 120 Hz and 180 Hz were assessed for the different sites of RE. The results show that the positioning of the RE on the four experimental locations did not change important features of the electromyographic signals in the time and frequency domains, for the three levels of isometric contractions studied. Such findings compel us to re-think the current trend regarding the RE position followed by the great majority of the researches in areas such as physical therapy.


Electromyography Reference electrode Root mean square Median frequency Power spectral density 



Financial support by the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) as well as the Scientific Scholarship Initiation Program of the University of São Paulo.

Compliance with ethical standards

Statement of human rights

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee with the CEP-HCRP 12788/2011 declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rinaldo Roberto de Jesus Guirro
    • 1
  • Alcimar Barbosa Soares
    • 2
  • Amanda Caldeira Guirro
    • 2
  • Camila Simieli
    • 1
  • Alessandra Vairo Peres Boratino
    • 1
  • Gabriela de Carvalho
    • 1
  • Aline Gobbi
    • 1
  • Elaine Caldeira de Oliveira Guirro
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Health Sience, Ribeirão Preto Medical SchoolUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Laboratory of Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Electrical EngineeringFederal University of UberlândiaUberlândiaBrazil

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