The reliability of hand-held dynamometry for strength assessment during electrically induced muscle contractions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To determine inter- and intra-tester reliability of strength measurements during maximal electrically induced contractions (MEIC) using a hand-held dynamometer (HHD). Methods: Thirty-seven healthy young female adults, mean age (SD) 23.4 (2.4) years, were tested by two examiners during two sessions, with order of examiners randomized. Biphasic pulses (phase duration-300?'s; pulse frequency-75?Hz) were employed in order to induce contractions of the quadriceps femoris muscle at a maximally tolerated current level. Strength of maximal voluntary isometric contractions (MVIC) and of MEIC was recorded with a HHD utilizing a stabilization belt. Results: Good to excellent inter- and intra-tester reliability were determined with intra-class correlation coefficients ranging between 0.8 and 0.9, and no bias in the Bland-Altman plots. The 95% repeatability ranged between 8.7 and 13.0?kg for the MVIC and MEIC, and between 20.7 and 25.6% for the % MVIC. Conclusion: Our results confirm previous findings indicating good to excellent reliability of quadriceps femoris muscle MVIC assessment with a HHD. However, a high 95% repeatability range indicates the HHD is not sufficiently reliable as an indicator of the force level attained during electrically induced contractions. Other methods need to be investigated to assist in determining whether MEIC have reached therapeutic levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-66
Number of pages6
JournalPhysiotherapy Theory and Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Informa Healthcare USA, Inc.


  • Hand-held dynamometer
  • Maximal voluntary isometric contractions
  • Neuromuscular electrical stimulation
  • Reliability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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