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Fatigue effects on tracking performance and muscle activity

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Author: Huysmans, M.A. · Hoozemans, M.J.M. · Beek, A.J. van der · Looze, M.P. de · Dieën, J.H. van
Institution: TNO Kwaliteit van Leven
Source:Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, 3, 18, 410-419
Identifier: 240822
doi: doi:10.1016/j.jelekin.2006.11.003
Keywords: Ergonomics · Arbeidsproductiviteit · Accuracy · EMG · Hand-arm symptoms · Localized muscle fatigue · adult · article · computer mouse · controlled study · electromyogram · female · hand muscle · human · human experiment · motor performance · muscle contraction · muscle fatigue · normal human · priority journal · task performance · wrist · Adult · Computer Peripherals · Electromyography · Female · Humans · Movement · Muscle Fatigue · Psychomotor Performance · Reference Values · Students · Time Factors · Wrist Joint · Healthy for Life · Healthy Living


It has been suggested that fatigue affects proprioception and consequently movement accuracy, the effects of which may be counteracted by increased muscle activity. To determine the effects of fatigue on tracking performance and muscle activity in the M. extensor carpi radialis (ECR), 11 female participants performed a 2-min tracking task with a computer mouse, before and immediately after a fatiguing wrist extension protocol. Tracking performance was significantly affected by fatigue. Percentage time on target was significantly lower in the first half of the task after the fatigue protocol, but was unaffected in the latter half of the task. Mean distance to target and the standard deviation of the distance to target were both increased after the fatigue protocol. The changed performance was accompanied by higher peak EMG amplitudes in the ECR, whereas the static and the median EMG levels were not affected. The results of this study showed that subjects changed tracking performance when fatigued in order to meet the task instruction to stay on target. Contrary to our expectations, this did not lead to an overall higher muscle activity, but to a selective increase in peak muscle activity levels of the ECR. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.