This study investigated the feasibility of measuring voluntary activation of the trapezius muscle with twitch interpolation. Subjects (n=8) lifted the right shoulder or both shoulders against fixed force transducers. Stimulation of the accessory nerve in the neck was used to evoke maximal twitches in right trapezius. The twitch-like increments in force (superimposed twitches) evoked during different strength voluntary contractions were linearly related to voluntary force (r=-0.82 to -0.99). Hence, voluntary activation could be quantified by twitch interpolation with this stimulus. Comparison of unilateral and bilateral MVCs showed that maximal voluntary force was greater in unilateral than bilateral efforts (92.7+/-2.9% and 82.3+/-5.8% MVC, respectively) but voluntary activation was similar (88.6+/-9.6% and 91.7+/-5.2%). Trapezius is commonly affected in work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Measurement of voluntary activation will be a useful technique to demonstrate whether the reduced maximal voluntary force reported in such disorders is due to muscular or neural factors.
Taylor, J. L., Olsen, H. B., Sjøgaard, G., & Søgaard, K. (2009). Voluntary activation of trapezius measured with twitch interpolation. Journal of Electromyography & Kinesiology, 19(4), 584-590. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jelekin.2008.01.001