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Article

Intermuscular coherence between homologous muscles during dynamic and static movement periods of bipedal squatting

Journal of Neurophysiology. 2020. Vol. 124. No. 4. P. 1045-1055.
Kenville R., Maudrich T., Vidaurre C., Maudrich D., Villringer A., Ragert P., Nikulin V.

Coordination of functionally coupled muscles is a key aspect of movement execution. Demands on coordinative control increase with the number of involved muscles and joints, as well as with differing movement periods within a given motor sequence. While previous research has provided evidence concerning inter- and intramuscular synchrony in isolated movements, compound movements remain largely unexplored. With this study, we aimed to uncover neural mechanisms of bilateral coordination through intermuscular coherence (IMC) analyses between principal homologous muscles during bipedal squatting (BpS) at multiple frequency bands (alpha, beta, and gamma). For this purpose, participants performed bipedal squats without additional load, which were divided into three distinct movement periods (eccentric, isometric, and concentric). Surface electromyography (EMG) was recorded from four homologous muscle pairs representing prime movers during bipedal squatting. We provide novel evidence that IMC magnitudes differ between movement periods in beta and gamma bands, as well as between homologous muscle pairs across all frequency bands. IMC was greater in the muscle pairs involved in postural and bipedal stability compared with those involved in muscular force during BpS. Furthermore, beta and gamma IMC magnitudes were highest during eccentric movement periods, whereas we did not find movement-related modulations for alpha IMC magnitudes. This finding thus indicates increased integration of afferent information during eccentric movement periods. Collectively, our results shed light on intermuscular synchronization during bipedal squatting, as we provide evidence that central nervous processing of bilateral intermuscular functioning is achieved through task-dependent modulations of common neural input to homologous muscles