Sport Sciences for Health

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 623–633 | Cite as

Differences in electromechanical delay components induced by sex, age and physical activity level: new insights from a combined electromyographic, mechanomyographic and force approach

  • Hasan SözenEmail author
  • E. Cè
  • A. V. Bisconti
  • S. Rampichini
  • S. Longo
  • G. Coratella
  • S. Shokohyar
  • C. Doria
  • M. Borrelli
  • E. Limonta
  • F. Esposito
Original Article



Electromyographic (EMG), mechanomyographic (MMG) and force (F) signals combined analysis represents an interesting approach to partition the electrochemical and mechanical events contributing to total electromechanical delay, i.e., the time lag existing between the muscle activation and the onset of force generation.


The study sought to assess the differences in electromechanical delay due to sex, age, and physical activity level.


Electromechanical components were assessed on vastus lateralis muscle during a maximum voluntary contraction and electrically evoked contractions in 180 participants. During each contraction, the EMG, MMG and F signals were recorded. Electromechanical delays and its two components (Δt EMG-MMG, mainly electrochemical component; and Δt MMG-F, mainly mechanical component) were computed. Measurements’ reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient, ICC) and sensitivity (minimum detectable changes at 95% confidence as a percentage, MDC95%) were also calculated.


ICC spanned from 0.89 to 0.97 with a percentage change of the standard error of the measurement (SEM%) ranging from 1.6 to 4.9%. MDC95% values ranged between 3.1 and 9.8%. Longer electromechanical delay values were observed in: (1) women compared to men; (2) 40–45 years old compared to 30–35 years and 20–25 years; and (3) sedentary than active participants. Differences were accompanied by increments in Δt MMG-F but not in Δt EMG-MMG values.


The alterations in the whole electromechanical delay induced by sex, age, and physical activity level could be ascribed to the difference in the duration of the mechanical events included in the electromechanical delay, possibly due to modifications in the muscle–tendon unit characteristics.


Maximum voluntary contraction Electrically evoked contraction Electromyography Mechanomyography 



Surface electromyographic


Mechanomyographic signal


Time latency


Stimulation current










Maximum voluntary contraction


Peak torque


Electromechanical delay during voluntary contraction


Electromechanical delay during electrically evoked contraction



The authors thank all the participants involved in the study, for their patience and committed involvement. The study was supported by The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) as post-doctoral fellow to Hasan Sözen.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

The study was conducted in accordance with the principles of the latest Helsinki Declaration upon receiving necessary approval from Milan University Ethics Committee (CE 27/17 11-07-2017).

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia S.r.l., part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Physical Education and SportUniversity of OrduOrduTurkey
  2. 2.Department of Biomedical Sciences for HealthUniversità degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly
  3. 3.IRCCS, Istituto Ortopedico GaleazziMilanItaly

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