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Arm Wrestling and EMG Lab

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About the Paired Arm Wrestling
and EMG Activity Lab

EMG and Arm Wrestling LabStudying electromyograms (EMGs), the electrical impulses occurring within certain muscles when active or inactive, is an interesting way to study the physiology of muscle activity.

Commonly, looking at antagonistic muscle pairs, such as the biceps and triceps, while flexing and extending has been the norm.  This allows looking at how the EMG activity changes based on what muscle is in use. However, there are other ways to observe EMG activity, and have an interactive, more interesting time doing it. Looking at any activity that involves flexing and extending pairs of muscles can be used, arms are easily accessible – so, would you like to be better at arm wrestling?

Arm wrestling involves the primary use of four muscles:  Biceps brachii, Pronator teres, Pectoralis major and Flexor carpi ulnaris. Other muscles such as the Deltoid, Latissimus dorsii and Triceps brachii are also used. The forearm muscles are generally thought to be the most important with the upper arm and chest providing strength as well.

As the arm wrestling contestants begin the competition, EMGs are generated to keep their muscles active and move their forearms to pin the opponent to the table.  The muscles that become active will depend on whether the contestant is winning, gaining the advantage by pushing their opponent’s arm to the table; or losing, being at a disadvantage when their arm is being pushed towards the table. In either case, the muscles are working to push against the other individual’s muscles.

In this lab, students will use arm wrestling to observe and measure EMG activity while winning and losing at a wrestling match. Electrodes will be placed on the Biceps brachii (upper arm), Pronator teres (forearm) and Deltoid (shoulder) muscles to observe muscle action as different forces are used to pin their opponent to the table. Both contestants will be actively measuring EMG activity simultaneously.

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