Electromyography for Athletic Trainers

Electromyography (EMG) measures a muscle’s response to gentle electrical currents. For decades, EMG has been used by doctors, physical therapists and researchers to diagnose and guide treatment for a range of neuromuscular, nerve and related disorders including muscular dystrophy, ALS and carpal tunnel syndrome. 

Until recently, EMG was largely relegated to the clinical realm: traditional EMG systems are large, wired and stationary. The biofeedback data captured by the systems often takes days to interpret and share with patients – making them impractical for most commercial applications.

In recent years, however, a number of innovations have made EMG testing more accessible to a broader audience. Portable EMG systems, like the K-Myo from KINVENT, have made it easier for those outside of clinics and labs to leverage the valuable data captured by EMG testing. Athletic trainers, sports medicine professionals and coaches, in particular, have begun to invest in EMG systems to help boost clients’ athletic performance.

How EMG Is Used in Athletic Training

While other biofeedback devices do an excellent job of capturing data surrounding force, range of motion, isometric strength, and more, EMG systems are capable of capturing more granular data – at the muscular level. Metrics include: 

  • Muscle activation
  • Muscle compensation
  • Muscle distribution
  • Muscle symmetry
  • Muscle fatigue

That data can give athletic trainers greater insight into how an athlete’s body operates and how his or her muscles respond to exercise. Those insights can guide training, help to guard against injury, and keep athletes engaged. 

Performance Optimization 

EMG testing reveals which muscles are properly activating, which are underperforming, and which are compensating. Testing can also shed light on whether an athlete favors muscles on their left or right side. This information can help athletic trainers pinpoint which muscles or muscle groups may need extra attention. From there, they can more easily determine which exercises should be performed to correct deficiencies.

Injury Prevention 

The data collected during EMG testing may present certain “tells” that allow athletic trainers to investigate and detect sources of potential injury early. An easily fatigued muscle, for example, may be more susceptible to injury. When armed with that information, a trainer can tailor a training plan to strengthen the at-risk muscle and, ultimately, protect the athlete from pain and downtime. 

Athlete Engagement

EMG data can be shared with athletes to educate them about how their bodies work and to explain the rationale behind certain training recommendations. When EMG testing is conducted consistently (which is advisable) the data can show athletes how they are progressing and keep them motivated. 

How to Select the Right EMG System

The data from EMG systems is not always straightforward, and insights are not always obvious. Because of the time it can take to parse data, more demanding systems – like the traditional EMG systems mentioned above – are often not a good fit for those looking to monitor entire teams: the time it would take to analyze the high volume of data in a meaningful way would be impractical for most.

Time-strapped athletic trainers should look for an easy-to-use EMG system that generates sophisticated data – but streamlines the process of analysis. Portable EMG systems, like the K-Myo from KINVENT, will fit the bill for the majority of athletic trainers and coaches. These small devices and their sensors are easy to transport, making them a practical option for athletic trainers and coaches who travel frequently – or who simply want to have the flexibility to use the system in different locations. 

There are several portable EMG systems on the market, but not all are created equally. Differences in both hardware and software make some options more user friendly than others. Further, some software does a poor job of streamlining data and demands a significant amount of complex analysis from users.

Among the competition, the K-Myo stands out: it is easy to use, connected to a suite of PT-friendly devices, and generates data that is easy to interpret through KINVENT’s state-of-the-art Kinvent Physio App.    

Achieve Athletic Performance Goals with KINVENT’s K-Myo

The K-Myo is a pocket-sized, portable EMG device that delivers data in real time via Bluetooth to the Kinvent Physio App. Data stored in the app is easy to interpret and can be organized into reports with a click of a button – which means athletic trainers can spend more time training and less time interpreting data.  

Unlike many other portable EMG systems on the market, K-Myo can be used alone or in conjunction with other biofeedback devices. When used alongside KINVENT’s seven other devices – small and large force plates, a goniometer, and hand, hand-held, traction and pneumatic dynamometers – K-Myo gives trainers deep insight into athletic performance, so they can drive better performance outcomes for their clients.

If you’re interested in trying K-Myo or other KINVENT biofeedback devices, contact JLW Instrument’s product experts to request a free trial. Please note a limited supply of products is available.

BiofeedbackK-myoKinventKinvent physio appPhysiotherapySports medicine

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