Detection of muscle activation during resistance training using infrared thermal imaging

Haemin Jung, Jeongwung Seo, Kangwon Seo, Dohwi Kim, Suhyun Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Infrared thermal imaging has been widely used to show the correlation between thermal characteristics of the body and muscle activation. This study aims to investigate a method using thermal imaging to visualize and differentiate target muscles during resistance training. Thermal images were acquired to monitor three target muscles (i.e., biceps brachii, triceps brachii, and deltoid muscle) in the brachium while varying the training weight, duration, and order of training. The acquired thermal images were segmented and converted to heat maps. By generating difference heat maps from pairs of heat maps during training, the target muscles were clearly visualized, with an average temperature difference of 0.86 °C. It was observed that training order had no significant effect on skin surface temperature. The difference heat maps were also used to train a convolutional neural network (CNN) to show the feasibility of target muscle classification, with an accuracy of 92.3%. This study demonstrated that infrared thermal imaging could be effectively utilized to locate and differentiate target muscle activation during resistance training.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4505
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number13
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Brachium
  • Deep learning
  • Infrared thermal imaging
  • Muscle activation
  • Skin temperature


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