Maintaining glenohumeral joint stability requires coordination of the rotator cuff and deltoid muscles. Load changing may alter the neuromuscular control patterns between these two muscle groups. PURPOSE: To identify intermuscular EMG coherence patterns between the rotator cuff and deltoid muscles at different force levels. METHODS: Surface EMG electrodes were used to record activity from the anterior deltoid (AD), middle deltoid (MD), and infraspinatus (IS) muscles of the dominant shoulder in 7 healthy individuals (mean age ± SD = 19±1, 6 females, 1 male). An intramuscular fine-wire EMG electrode was inserted into supraspinatus (SS). Participants performed 30s contractions of isometric shoulder abduction in the scapular plane at 30° at 25% (low-load), 50% (medium-load) and 75% (high-load) of maximum voluntary contraction with visual feedback of the force output. EMG amplitudes and coherence of each muscle pair in the common drive (0-5 Hz), physiological force tremor (5-12 Hz), beta (15-35 Hz), low-gamma (35-60 Hz) and high-gamma (60-100 Hz) bands were compared across the 3 force levels. RESULTS: EMG amplitudes of all muscles increased as force level increased (all pCONCLUSION: Increasing force output led to decreased coherence within the rotator cuff muscles and between supraspinatus and the deltoid muscles, but increased coherence between infraspinatus and the deltoid muscles. This likely serves as a protective mechanism against superior humeral head migration.



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