The influence of verbal and tactile feedback on electromyographic amplitude of the shoulder musculature during common therapeutic exercises

Sean A. Jones, Derek N. Pamukoff*, Timothy C. Mauntel, J. Troy Blackburn, Joseph B. Myers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Context: Verbal and tactile feedback (VTF) during rehabilitation exercises can increase muscle activation, thus improving the therapeutic benefits. However, it is unclear which feedback method elicits the greatest electromyographic (EMG) amplitude. Objective: To determine if the addition of tactile to verbal feedback (VF) increases EMG amplitude of selected shoulder musculature during scapular plane elevation (Ys), shoulder horizontal abduction with external rotation (Ts), and scapular retraction with external rotation (Ws). Design: Repeated-measures cross-over design. Setting: Biomechanics laboratory. Participants: A total of 30 physically active adults volunteered for this study-age = 20.23 (1.25) years; height = 1.71 (0.073) m; and mass = 70.11 (15.14) kg. Interventions: Electromyography of the serratus anterior; upper, middle, and lower trapezii; and anterior and posterior deltoids was recorded during Ys, Ts, and Ws with VTF and VF alone during separate testing sessions. Participants completed baseline trials without feedback, then received VTF and VF across 2 counterbalanced sessions. Main Outcome Measures: Difference scores were calculated between prefeedback and postfeedback interventions, and the difference score between baseline measurements was used as a control. One-way analysis of variance of the difference scores was used to evaluate the influence of VTF and VF on EMG amplitude during Ys, Ts, and Ws. Results: There was a significant difference between conditions for EMG amplitude of the middle trapezius (F2,28 = 4.09, P = .02) and serratus anterior (F2,28 = 3.91, P = .03) during Ys, the middle trapezius (F2,28 = 7.82, P = .001) during Ws, and the upper (F2,28 = 3.61, P = .03) and middle trapezii (F2,28 = 5.81, P = .01) during Ts. Post hoc testing revealed that both feedback conditions elicited greater EMG amplitude compared with no feedback, but there were no significant differences between the feedback conditions. Conclusions: The addition of tactile feedback to VF does not increase EMG amplitude compared with VF alone. This study indicates that feedback, regardless of type, is more beneficial than providing no feedback, for increasing EMG amplitude.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)424-430
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Sport Rehabilitation
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Electromyography
  • Muscle
  • Rehabilitation
  • Rotator cuff


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