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We present a new preprocessing technique for two-dimensional compression of surface electromyographic (S-EMG) signals, based on correlation sorting. We show that the JPEG2000 coding system (originally designed for compression of still images) and the H.264/AVC encoder (video compression algorithm operating in intraframe mode) can be used for compression of S-EMG signals. We compare the performance of these two off-the-shelf image compression algorithms for S-EMG compression, with and without the proposed preprocessing step. Compression of both isotonic and isometric contraction S-EMG signals is evaluated. The proposed methods were compared with other S-EMG compression algorithms from the literature.