Comparison of male and female functional capacity in pull-ups

Article (PDF Available)inThe Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness 28(2):168-75 · July 1988with 860 Reads 
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Abstract
During the positive work phase of pull-ups, integrated electromyographic signals (EMGs) were obtained from selected muscles of the upper chest, shoulder, upper back, and arm in one male and one female subject of comparable age, height, and body mass. In addition, displacement of body mass as well as acceleration and velocity of body mass were calculated as were force and power. Forward as well as reverse grasps on the horizontal bar were additional variables. Irrespective of bargrasp, the data failed to show sex differences in the electromyographic and biomechanical aspects of pull-up performance, assuming of course applied force and power and therefore number of completions of pull-ups of the free-hanging body were expressed as a function of mass being displaced. Pull-ups research represents a complex and challenging study having many fundamental ramifications, but the methodology we have presented has the integrity and capacity to be utilized in the scrutiny and expansion of pull-ups studies.
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  • ... Hence, understanding how grip orientation may alter the level of muscle activation is important when considering training specificity and efficiency. As there is limited evidence regarding muscle activity throughout the movements (Ricci et al., 1988;Youdas et al., 2010), a more thorough assessment of the movement pattern is necessary. As such, research is required to compare peak (EMG-PEAK) and average rectified variable (EMGARV) muscle activation, and/or the engagement of particular muscles, during pull-up variations. ...
    ... Hence, it is important for fitness professionals to understand the level of muscle activation in the shoulder-arm-forearm complex when prescribing variations of the pull-up exercise (Leslie and Comfort, 2013). Ricci et al. (1988) analysed activation of seven shoulder and arm muscles during shoulder width supinated and pronated grip pullup exercises; results showed similar activation of muscles irrespective of hand orientation. However, muscle activity was not normalised to a percentage of maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) as per best practice guidelines for EMG studies (De Luca, 1997). ...
    Article
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    This study sought to identify any differences in peak muscle activation (EMGPEAK) or average rectified variable muscle activation (EMGARV) during supinated grip, pronated grip, neutral grip and rope pull-up exercises. Nineteen strength trained males (24.9 ± 5 y; 1.78 ± 0.74 m; 81.3 ± 11.3 kg; 22.7 ± 2.5 kg·m¯²) volunteered to participate in the study. Surface electromyography (EMG) was collected from eight shoulder-arm-forearm complex muscles. All muscle activation was expressed as a percentage of maximum voluntary isometric contraction (%MVIC). Over a full repetition, the pronated grip resulted in significantly greater EMGPEAK (60.1 ± 22.5 vs. 37.1 ± 13.1%MVIC; P = .004; Effect Size [ES; Cohen’s d] = 1.19) and EMGARV (48.0 ± 21.2 vs. 27.4 ± 10.7%MVIC; P = .001; ES = 1.29) of the middle trapezius when compared to the neutral grip pull-up. The concentric phases of each pull-up variation resulted in significantly greater EMGARV of the brachioradialis, biceps brachii, and pectoralis major in comparison to the eccentric phases (P = < 0.01). Results indicate that EMGPEAK and EMGARV of the shoulder-arm-forearm complex during complete repetitions of pull-up variants are similar despite varying hand orientations; however, differences exist between concentric and eccentric phases of each pull-up.
  • ... A third limitation of the study was that performing one pull-up for the participants was a maximum to near maximum effort; hence, all muscles involved during the pull-up for the participants were working at maximum or near maximum efforts. Previous sEMG research of the pull-up revealed that the shoulder muscles involved in the early and late stages of the pull-up include the latissimus dorsi, infraspinatus, and teres major (11). Other major muscles involved in the exercise include the rhomboids, trapezius, biceps brachii, pectoralis major, wrist flexors, and wrist extensors. ...
    Article
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    Abstract. This study compared the effects of Versa Gripps® compared to no grips on pull-ups to failure in and surface electromyographic (sEMG) signal amplitude during pull-ups on the wrist flexors (WF), wrist extensors (WE), latissimus dorsi (LAT), and infraspinatus (INF) muscles in strength-trained females. Material and Method. Seventeen healthy females volunteered to participate in the study. Pull-ups were performed to failure to the beat of a metronome. Surface EMG was computed using the root-mean-square (RMS) of the signal intensity with a sampling frequency of 1000 Hz, integrated over 500 ms, and normalized to the maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) for the muscles being investigated. EMG data from the four muscles and number of pull-ups performed were analyzed using paired two tailed t-tests for Grip and No Grip conditions for each muscle and for the number of pull-ups performed. Results. There was a significant decrease (p = 0.035) in EMG activation of the wrist extensors with grips (102.6 ± 65.5% MVC) compared to no grips (89.5 ± 49.2% MVC). No change was noted in EMG activation during pull-ups of the infraspinatus, latissimus dorsi, wrist flexors, or in the number of pull-ups to failure. Conclusion. Wrist straps may be effective at decreasing the demand of the wrist extensors during pull-ups. This may be beneficial for those strength-training participants recovering from lateral epicondylitis who wish to perform pulling exercises and need to unload the wrist extensors. Furthermore, strength-training participants may be able to more effectively recruit larger muscle groups in pulling exercises as smaller muscle groups may be a limiting component when performing pulling exercises. Key Words: lateral epicondylitis, latissimus dorsi, infraspinatus, wrist straps
  • ... 19 Furthermore, it has traditionally been used to assess upper-body strength and muscular endurance in different populations. 13,20,21 Studies have analyzed the joint movement and work, 22 surface electromyography activation patterns, 20,23,24 similarities between PU and lat-pull exercises, [24][25][26][27][28] and the influence of body composition on performance in the PU exercise. [26][27][28] However, to our knowledge, the velocity-load relationship in the PU exercise has not yet received attention. ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    Purpose: to analyze the relationship between movement velocity and relative load (%1RM) in the pull-up exercise (PU), and to determine the pattern of repetition velocity loss during a single set to failure in pulling one's own body mass. Methods: Fifty-two men (age = 26.5 ± 3.9 years, body mass = 74.3 ± 7.2 kg) performed a first evaluation (T1) consisting of an one-repetition maximum test (1RM), and a test of maximum number of repetitions to failure pulling one's own body mass (MNR) in the PU exercise. Thirty-nine subjects performed both tests on a second occasion (T2) following 12 weeks' training. Results: We observed a strong relationship between mean propulsive velocity (MPV) and %1RM (r = -.96). Mean velocity attained with 1RM load (V1RM) was 0.20 ± 0.05 m·s(-1) and it influenced the MPV attained with each %1RM. Although 1RM increased by 3.4% from T1 to T2, the relationship between MPV and %1RM, and V1RM remained stable. We also confirmed stability in the V1RM regardless of individual relative strength. We found a strong relationship between percentage of velocity loss and percentage of performed repetitions (R(2) = .88), which remained stable despite a 15% increase in MNR. Conclusions: Monitoring repetition velocity allows estimation of the %1RM used as soon as the first repetition with a given load is performed, and the number of repetitions remaining in reserve when a given percentage of velocity loss is achieved during a PU exercise set.
  • ... The scapulae are forcibly depressed, retracted, and rotated downward by concentric actions of the middle and lower trapezius, rhomboid, and pectoralis minor muscles. The glenohumeral or shoulder joints are adducted by concentric actions of the latissimus dorsi, teres major, pectoralis major, subscapularis, infraspinatus, and posterior deltoid muscles (1,2,4,(8)(9)(10)14). The elbows, wrists, and hands are flexed by the biceps brachii, brachialis, brachioradialis, flexor carpi radialis, flexor carpi ulnaris, palmaris longus, flexor digitorum profundus, flexor digitorum superficialis, and flexor policis longus muscles (1,4,6,14). ...
    Article
    Pull-ups are a multijoint exercise and require minimal equipment to perform. They can be progressed or regressed to increase and improve upper body muscular strength, endurance, hypertrophy, and performance of tasks that require upper body pulling strength. Proper technique and control should not be sacrificed to perform more repetitions.
  • ... The lack of a strong association between pull-ups and latpull repetitions in the current study supported the contention that 1 of these exercises should not be substituted for the other in a resistance training regimen. The correlations between pull-ups and anthropometric dimensions suggested that the ability to perform pull-ups may be heavily influenced by body composition factors (22,38) and may not be a good indicator of absolute shoulder pulling strength (34). The fact that greater amounts of both LBM and FM were exponentially detrimental to pull-up performance agreed with the findings of other investigators (22,38) and suggests that greater size does not always mean greater strength, especially among women. ...
    Article
    To determine the relationship of lat-pull repetitions using a submaximal load and maximal pull-up performance to 1-RM lat-pull strength, 93 college male athletes from baseball (n=30) and football (n=63) teams were evaluated during their off-season conditioning program. The 1-RM lat-pull (LPM), repetitions-to-fatigue using 60% of 1-RM (LPR) and pull-ups were measured. LPR were performed from full-arm extension to below the chin. During the pull-up exercise, the chin was required to be above the bar on each repetition. A pronated grip was used throughout testing. Subjects performed significantly more LPR than pull-ups and the two tests were not significantly related (r=0.05). LPM averaged 110% of body mass and was significantly related to body mass (r=0.62) and LPR (r=0.46) but not to pull-ups (r=-0.01). A multiple regression equation combining LPR and repetition weight was effective in predicting LPM (R=0.99, SEE=2.0kg). Combining pull-ups and body mass was less effective for predicting LPM (R=0.73, SEE=11.6kg). LPR appeared to be more effective for predicting LPM in resistance trained college male athletes than were pull-ups, although a combination of pull-ups and body mass can be used to evaluate shoulder strength.
  • ... The pull-up is an exercise that requires strength in several muscle groups. A previous sEMG study of the pull-up revealed that the shoulder muscles involved in both the early and late stages of the pull-up include the latissimus dorsi, infraspinatus, and teres major (9). However, in this study the teres major was not selected as a muscle to investigate because there is not a good sEMG electrode placement for this muscle due to electrical cross talk. ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    Abstract. Aim. This study compared surface electromyographic (sEMG) signal amplitude during pull-ups with Versa Gripps® to those without grips on the dominant side wrist flexors (WF), wrist extensors (WE), latissimus dorsi (LAT), and infraspinatus (INF) muscles among strength-trained males. Material and Method. Thirty healthy males volunteered to participate in the study. All subjects reviewed, completed, and signed an informed consent form approved by Institutional Review Committees. Surface EMG was computed using the root-mean-square (RMS) of the EMG signal, integrated over 500 milliseconds, and normalized to the maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) for the muscles being investigated. EMG data from the four muscles were analyzed using paired two tailed t-tests for each individual muscle for Grip to No Grip conditions. Results. The comparisons revealed that the WE and WF sEMG were significantly less with the Versa Gripps® compared to No Grip. There were no significant differences between the Grip and No Grip conditions for the LAT and INF. Conclusion. These results suggest that the effort required by the WE and WF can be reduced with the use of Versa Gripps® in strength-trained males while performing a pull-up without inhibiting the recruitment of the LAT and/or the INF. This finding could be beneficial for strength-trained males suffering or recovering from lateral or medial epincondylitis because the decreased activation of the WE muscles during the pull-up exercise may help unload of the WE and WF which may aid in their recovery. Key words: epicondylitis, latissimus dorsi, infraspinatus, wrist straps.
  • ... The scapulae are forcibly depressed, retracted, and rotated downward by concentric actions of the middle and lower trapezius, rhomboid, and pectoralis minor muscles. The glenohumeral or shoulder joints are adducted by concentric actions of the latissimus dorsi, teres major, pectoralis major, subscapularis, infraspinatus, and posterior deltoid muscles (1,2,4,(8)(9)(10)14). The elbows, wrists, and hands are flexed by the biceps brachii, brachialis, brachioradialis, flexor carpi radialis, flexor carpi ulnaris, palmaris longus, flexor digitorum profundus, flexor digitorum superficialis, and flexor policis longus muscles (1,4,6,14). ...
    Article
    THE PULL-UP IS A MULTI-JOINT UPPER-BODY EXERCISE THAT CAN INCREASE SHOULDER GIRDLE STABILITY, UPPER-BODY MUSCULAR PULLING STRENGTH, AND PERFORMANCE OF ACTIVITES REQUIRING HIGH LEVELS OF RELATIVE STRENGTH. THIS EXERCISE AND ITS VARIATIONS CAN BE PROGRESSED, REGRESSED, AND PERFORMED THROUGHOUT A TRAINING YEAR. THIS COLUMN PROVIDES A DETAILED DESCRIPTION AND FIGURES OF THE PROPER EXERCISE TECHNIQUE FOR A PULL-UP.
  • Article
    Pull-ups are often used by sport-climbers and other athletes to train their arm and back muscle capabilities. Sport-climbers use different types of holds to reinforce finger strength concomitantly. However, the effect of grip types on pull-up performance had not previously been investigated. A vertical force platform sensor measured the force exerted by climbers when performing pull-ups under six different grip conditions (gym-bar, large climbing hold, and four small climbing holds: 22mm, 18mm, 14mm, and 10mm). The electromyography of finger flexors and extensor muscles were recorded simultaneously. The maximal arm power and summed mechanical work were computed. The results revealed that the number of pull-ups, maximal power, and summed mechanical work decreased significantly with the size of the climbing hold used, even if no differences were found between a large climbing hold and a gym-bar. Electromyography of the forearm muscles revealed that the use of a climbing hold generated finger flexor fatigue and that the level of cocontraction was impacted by the different segment coordination strategies generated during the pull-ups. These findings are likely to be useful for quantifying training loads more accurately and designing training exercises and programs.
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