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Effects of Variations of the Bench Press Exercise on the EMG Activity of Five Shoulder Muscles

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Abstract

This experiment investigated the effects of varying bench inclination and hand spacing on the EMG activity of five muscles acting at the shoulder joint. Six male weight trainers performed presses under four conditions of trunk inclination and two of hand spacing at 80% of their predetermined max. Preamplified surface EMG electrodes were placed over the five muscles in question. The EMG signals during the 2-sec lift indicated some significant effects of trunk inclination and hand spacing. The sternocostal head of the pectoralis major was more active during the press from a horizontal bench than from a decline bench. Also, the clavicular head of the pectoralis major was no more active during the incline bench press than during the horizontal one, but it was less active during the decline bench press. The clavicular head of the pectoralis major was more active with a narrow hand spacing. Anterior deltoid activity tended to increase as trunk inclination increased. The long head of the triceps brachii was more active during the decline and flat bench presses than the other two conditions, and was also more active with a narrow hand spacing. Latissimus dorsi exhibited low activity in all conditions. (C) 1995 National Strength and Conditioning Association
... The bench press is one of the most recognizable and commonly used exercises to measure and increase upper-body strength [1,7,17,18]. There have been several ways that researchers have altered the standard bench press exercise in an attempt to increase pressing performance. ...
... There have been several ways that researchers have altered the standard bench press exercise in an attempt to increase pressing performance. Examples of these include altering the grip width [1], the inclination angle [1,5,11], using unstable loads [2,10,[12][13][14][15], altering the rest and timing of the lift [8], and altering the arch of the back [3]. With the prime movers being the pectoralis major, triceps brachii, and the anterior deltoids [1] the bench press is, irrefutably, an upper-body dominant exercise. ...
... There have been several ways that researchers have altered the standard bench press exercise in an attempt to increase pressing performance. Examples of these include altering the grip width [1], the inclination angle [1,5,11], using unstable loads [2,10,[12][13][14][15], altering the rest and timing of the lift [8], and altering the arch of the back [3]. With the prime movers being the pectoralis major, triceps brachii, and the anterior deltoids [1] the bench press is, irrefutably, an upper-body dominant exercise. ...
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IntroductionThe bench press is commonly used to measure upper-body strength. While much emphasis has been placed on the upper-body, little is known about how the lower-body can play a role in bench press performance. Leg-drive is a technique that includes flexing the knee so the feet line up posterior to the knee joint, while simultaneously contracting the knee extensors isometrically during the lift. The purpose of this study was to compare strength characteristics of lifters in a standard bench press versus a leg-drive bench press over the course of 5-weeks of training.Methods Twenty-three recreationally active males (age: 22.4 ± 2.1 years, height: 175.0 ± 5.9 cm, mass: 78.4 ± 9.5 kg) were randomized into a standard bench or leg-drive bench press group. Participants performed four sets to failure, two times per week for five weeks. Variables of interests were training volume and 1-repetition maximum (1RM) strength. For training volume, a 2 × 5 (group × week) repeated measures analysis of variance (RMANOVA) was used. For the 1RM’s, a 2 × 2 × 2 (group × press type × time) RMANOVA was used. A priori alpha levels were set to 0.05.ResultsOver time, both groups showed an approximate 6% increase in 1RM strength. Training volume for week 4 was 5.6% less than week 5, but was not different from weeks 1 through 3. No between-group differences were observed for 1RM strength or training volume.Conclusion This results of this work indicates that 5 weeks of leg-drive training is effective in increasing 1RM strength, but was not more effective than standard bench press training. Practically, lifters should choose either lifting style based on personal preference.
... To date, few studies have investigated this gesture in impaired [7] and unimpaired [8] as well as in novice and elite athletes [6,9]. However, to the best of our knowledge, a comprehensive evaluation including both kinematic and muscle activations has not been yet proposed. ...
... Despite the different impairment and competition level of the athletes tested, with the instrumented evaluation, we were able to describe the level of performance of each athlete and recognize and unveil the muscular and kinematic strategies that the athletes adopted to execute the gesture. The usability, efficacy and the efficiency of the instrumented evaluation proposed is also confirmed by the few studies published in literature [6][7][8][9]19]. The assessment results, indeed, are not only consistent with the outcomes of these studies, but also provide relevant additional information regarding gesture performance, especially the muscle strategies adopted to execute the gesture. ...
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Purpose With an increase in the number of adapted sports, the need to monitor sports performance in people with different abilities has grown. Indeed, a thorough evaluation of the sports gesture could prevent the occurrence of injuries, enable a continuous performance assessment, and allow to verify the compliance of the requirements for the competitions. Gesture kinematics provides an assessment of performance, while the muscle activities reveal the underlying strategies adopted by each athlete. In this context, we propose an instrumented evaluation to assess performance in Para-powerlifting. Our goal is to define and test a setup and a protocol to quantitatively assess the execution of bench press exercise in athletes with different abilities. Methods We recruited an unimpaired athlete and three Paralympic athletes. They were requested to execute the bench press exercise while we recorded muscle activity and kinematic data from the upper body. We investigated the sport gesture by extracting parameters describing coordination, symmetry, and synchronism between arms, and motor variability while repeating the gesture. Results Paralympic athletes performed the gestures with higher coordination between arms and low variability across repetitions compared to the unimpaired athlete, who was not at the Olympic level. All participants obtained similar kinematic performance by adopting different muscle strategies. Conclusions This study is a proof of concept that the instrumented evaluation proposed here can allow to conduct a complete assessment of the bench press exercise, in terms of kinematics, muscle activity and performance in athletes with different abilities.
... Bench press exercises are the most popular strength exercises for developing upper body strength, especially of chest muscles [5]. The core muscle groups which are trained during bench press exercises are the pectoralis major, the triceps brachii, the anterior deltoid and the medial deltoid, serving as key stabilisers of the shoulder joint [1]. ...
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Injuries to the shoulder are very common in sports that involve overhead arm or throwing movements. Strength training of the chest muscles has the potential to protect the shoulder from injury. Kinematic and kinetic data were acquired in 20 healthy subjects (age: 24.9 ± 2.7 years) using motion capture, force plates for the bench press exercises and load cells in the cable for the cable pulley exercises with 15% and 30% of body weight (BW). Joint ranges of motion (RoM) and joint moments at the shoulder, elbow and wrist were derived using an inverse dynamics approach. The maximum absolute moments at the shoulder joint were significantly larger for the cable pulley exercises than for the bench press exercises. The cable cross-over exercise resulted in substantially different joint angles and loading patterns compared to most other exercises, with higher fluctuations during the exercise cycle. The present results indicate that a combination of bench press and cable pulley exercises are best to train the full RoM and, thus, intra-muscular coordination across the upper limbs. Care has to be taken when performing cable cross-over exercises to ensure proper stabilisation of the joints during exercise execution and avoid joint overloading.
... [14][15][16] Conversely, other studies did not report regional differences in PM excitation when comparing both variants for the bench press exercise. 17,18 This lack of consensus could arise from non-physiological sources often disregarded when the conventional bipolar configuration is applied to investigate this issue. 19 In particular, the innervation zone (IZ) position and the placement of the bipolar electrodes over non-representative regions of the distinct PM portions are some examples of factors that may lead to potentially equivocal interpretation on the degree of PM muscle excitation from EMG amplitude. ...
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Non‐physiological sources may lead to equivocal interpretation on the degree of muscle excitation from electromyograms (EMGs) amplitude. This presumably explains the contradictory findings regarding the effect of the bench press inclination on the pectoralis major (PM) activation pattern. To contend with these issues, herein we used high‐density surface EMG to investigate whether different PM regions are excited during the flat and 45° inclined bench press exercises. Single‐differential EMGs were collected from 15 regions along the PM cranio‐caudal axis, while 8 volunteers performed a set of the flat and 45° inclined bench press at 50% and 70% of 1 repetition maximum. The coefficient of variation, the range of motion, and the cycle duration were calculated from the barbell vertical position to assess the within‐subject consistency across cycles. The number of channels detecting the largest EMGs amplitude (active channels), their interquartile range and their barycentre coordinate were assessed to characterise the EMG amplitude distribution within PM. No significant differences in the range of motion (P>0.11), cycle duration (P>0.28), number of active channels (P>0.05) and interquartile range of active channels (P>0.39) were observed between the two bench press inclinations. Conversely, the barycentre shifted towards the PM clavicular region (P<0.001) when the bench press changed from flat to 45°. Our results revealed that greatest EMG amplitudes were concentrated at the PM sternocostal and clavicular heads when exercising in the flat and 45° inclined bench press, respectively. Performing the bench press exercise, with different postures, seem to demand the excitation of different PM regions.
... PT was applied to each participant immediately following completion of the last rep at the end of each set. PT was applied to the pectoralis major and minor, given that the standardized grip used in our study was 100% or more of the biacromial width [24], and the bench had no inclination (0 • ) [25], with the pectoral as the muscle group with the highest activation during the BP exercise. PT was applied to the muscle in the PTG with the dampener attachment using moderate force and fast movement, gliding up and down along the muscle belly from the origin to the insertion for 15 s, ensuring constant pressure at all times, and following the direction of the muscle fibers. ...
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Abstract: The aim of this research was to verify whether the application of percussion therapy during inter-set rest periods increases the number of repetitions performed before reaching a 30% velocity loss threshold during a bench press exercise. Methods: Twenty-four male university students participated in this study (24.3 ± 1.3 years; 77.5 ± 8.3 kg; 177.0 ± 5.6 cm; 24.7 ± 2.6 kg·m−2). Participants were randomized into two groups: a percussion therapy group (PTG) and a control group (CG). They performed 4 sets at 70% of a one-repetition maximum before reaching a 30% velocity loss threshold with an inter-set recovery of 3 min. Results: The PTG performed a greater total number of repetitions compared to the CG (44.6 ± 4.8 vs. 39.5 ± 6.8; p = 0.047; ES = 0.867). No differences were observed for the different movement velocity variables and fatigue control (p > 0.05). Conclusions: Percussion therapy is an effective method to delay the loss of movement velocity in the bench press exercise.
... Una spiegazione per questa accresciuta attivazione muscolare negli esercizi di al-P ush-up exercises improve the strength and endurance of muscles in the upper body. 1,2 Unstable push-ups (hands on unstable surfaces) are variations to conventional (handon-oor) exercises. For these push-up types, an increased activation of the synergistic and stabilizing muscles is expected. ...
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BACKGROUND: Currently, unstable push-ups are used to increase the activation of the muscles in the upper extremities and core muscles if compared to conventional push-ups. The aim was to examine the effects of different unstable push-ups on the electromyographic activity and coactivation of the core muscles. In addition, ascent and descent push-up phases were analyzed. METHODS: Twelve physically active men (age: 23.7±3.0 years old; body mass: 71.7±8.7 kg; height: 1.73±0.06 m; Body Mass Index: 23.9±2.4 kg/m2) carried out conventional and unstable push-up exercises (balance trainer, balance discs and suspended training) while electromyography signals of pectoralis major (PM), rectus abdominis (RA), external oblique (EO), longissimus (LS) and lumbar multifidus (LM) were assessed. The percentage of the maximum voluntary isometric contraction for all muscles was calculated. RESULTS: For muscle amplitude, suspended push-up caused greater muscular activation of the RA and EO in comparison to the other conditions (P<0.05), and a greater activation of the LS in comparison to conventional and balance disc push-ups (P<0.05). In relation to the push-up phases, only the EO showed a greater electromyographic activation during the ascent phase of suspended push-ups (P<0.05). Regarding muscle coactivation, it was observed that the RA/LM muscular pair showed lower values when the participants performed suspended push-ups in comparison to the conventional push-up. CONCLUSIONS: Suspended push-ups showed a greater electromyographic activation and a lower coactivation in comparison to unstable surface push-ups. We recommend that sport science professionals and practitioners include, with precaution, suspended push-ups into exercise routines to improve strength in the upper extremities and core balance.
... Furthermore, it is generally accepted that wider grip increases loads lifted due to shorter vertical displacement of the barbell [4,17]. While both different loads and muscle activation have been examined previously [18][19][20][21], the effects of training experience and muscle activation have been neglected in the literature. ...
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Background: This study compared the muscle activity and six repetition maximum (6- RM) loads in bench press with narrow, medium, and wide grip widths with sub-group comparisons of resistance-trained (RT) and novice-trained (NT) men. Methods: After two familiarization sessions, twenty-eight subjects lifted their 6-RM loads with the different grip widths with measurement of electromyographic activity. Results: Biceps brachii activity increased with increasing grip width, whereas wide grip displayed lower triceps brachii activation than medium and narrow. In the anterior deltoid, greater activity was observed using a medium compared to narrow grip. Similar muscle activities were observed between the grip widths for the other muscles. For the RT group, greater biceps brachii activity with increasing grip width was observed, but only greater activity was observed in the NT group between narrow and wide. Comparing wide and medium grip width, the RT group showed lower triceps activation using a wide grip, whereas the NT group showed lower anterior deltoid activation using a narrow compared to medium grip. Both groups demonstrated lower 6-RM loads using a narrow grip compared to the other grips. Conclusion: Grip widths affect both 6-RM loads and triceps brachii, biceps brachii, and anterior deltoid activity especially between wide and narrow grip widths.
... The barbell bench press (BBP) is one of the most popular and widely used resistance training (RT) exercises designed to strengthen the anterior chest and shoulder muscles. 1,2 It is typically performed in a supine position with moderate to heavily loaded barbells. In addition, dumbbells are often used as a supplemental exercise to achieve similar training benefits. ...
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Objectives: The purpose of this study was to assess differences in bench press velocity and power production with barbell and dumbbells. Design: Randomized cross-over design. Methods: College men (n = 20, age = 18-24 yrs) were measured for average and peak velocities and power during maximal effort single repetitions using barbell and bilateral dumbbells at loads equivalent to 30%, 50%, and 70% of body mass. Three repetitions were performed at each load with one-minute recovery between each repetition and 10 minutes between loads. During each repetition for each mode, average and peak velocity and power were monitored using a linear accelerometer. Results: Interclass correlation coefficients across the 3 trials for peak and average velocities were high for both barbell (ICC = 0.957 and 0.821, respectively) and dumbbells (ICC = 0.947 and 0.855, respectively). Peak power output was sig nificantly higher (p < 0.009) for barbell than dumbbells at 50% and 70% loads. Average power output was significantly different (p < 0.001) across the 3 loads but not significantly different between barbell and dumbbells (p = 0.35). Although velocity decreased as load increased, higher power outputs were produced across increases in loads. Peak power output was reached at 70% of body mass with barbell and 50% with dumbbells. Conclusion: Either barbell or bilateral dumbbell bench press exercises can be used to evaluate upper-body power with sim ilar effectiveness.
Article
Isokinetic exercise is based upon the control of speed during contraction rather than the amount of load (isotonic) or effort at a given angle (isometric). Isokinetic instruments typically provide a range of selectable speeds under the assumption that each speed provides for maximum resistance (accommodation) along the total range of movement. To test this assumption the muscle action potentials (MAP) of the anterior deltoid, pectoralis major, biceps brachii, and the triceps muscle were studied by quantitative EMG during a bench press exercise at three controlled speeds. Bipolar surface electrodes with standard placement were employed throughout the study. Volunteer college women (N = ll) performed 3 trials at each speed (1.5 sec, 2.0 sec, 3.5 seel3 ft). Randomization of speed of contraction eliminated order effects and no motivation was provided. Rest was controlled to negate fatigue, ANOVA was used to determine the significance of the difference obtained. The results suggested that “accommodation” occurs for the deltoid, triceps, and biceps brachii muscles. MAP increases significantly in an inverse order to speed for the pectoralis. This may be interpreted in diverse ways but has been accepted by the authors as generally favoring the concept of accommodation.