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

Article (PDF Available)inThe Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 9(4) · November 1995with 18,525 Reads 
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DOI: 10.1519/00124278-199511000-00003
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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
  • ... However, athletes also often use the wide-grip bench press (WGBP) and the close-grip bench press (CGBP). The WGBP is described as a bench press with a grip width of 200% or more of the biacromial distance (BAD), while the CGBP is defined as a grip width of 95% BAD (Wagner et al. 1992; Barnett et al., 1995;Lockie et al., 2017a;2017b;Wilk et al., 2019a). ...
    Article
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    Background: The aim of the study was to determine the effect of the wide grip bench press (WGBP) and the close grip bench press (CGBP) on power output and bar velocity changes using a variable tempo of movement (6/0/X/0 vs. 2/0/X/0) in a group of female athletes. Objective: Twenty females were enrolled in the study (age 26.6±2.6, body mass 54.4±7.2 kg, RT experience 2.5±0.94 years; CGBP 1RM 55.2±7.5 kg; WGBP 1RM 52.9±6.5 kg). Method: Participants performed two sets of three repetitions of the bench press (BP) at 70%1RM with different grip widths (WGBP or CGBP) and different tempos of movement (2/0/X/0 or 6/0/X/0). During each test the following variables were registered: mean power (MP), peak power (PP), mean velocity (MV), and peak velocity (PV). Results: The repeated measures ANOVA showed significant differences between analysed variables for MV, PV and PP. The post hoc Tukey showed significant differences between WGBPSLOW and WGBPFAST for MV (p<0.01) and PV (p<0.01), significant differences between WGBPSLOW and CGBPFAST for PP (p<0.05), MV (p<0.01) and PV (p<0.05). Finally, the study showed significant differences between CGBPSLOW and CGBPFAST for MV (p<0.05). Conclusion: The present research showed that the movement tempo significantly influenced the level of power output and bar velocity during the BP. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that the type of grip width during the BP is not a factor significantly affecting the level of power output and bar velocity.
  • ... Indeed, bench press is an optimal training movement to increase the anterior trunk (pectoralis major and minor), arms (triceps brachii) and shoulders (anterior and medial deltoid) (Wilson et al. 1989;Barnett et al. 1995). An increasing interest to the use of the bench press exercise as a simple test for assessing upper limb strength is also observed in the scientific literature (Pearson et al. 2007;Padulo et al. 2012;Buitrago et al. 2013;Sreckovic et al. 2015;García-Ramos et al. 2016). ...
  • ... Some authors have analyzed the BP exercise through kinematic and electromyographic data acquisition [2]. The bench press is a multi-articular exercise and it has been demonstrated that the distance between the hands changes the involvement of the affected muscle groups [3][4][5]. The activations and the muscular synergies are correlated with: the subject's experience [6], the use of a free barbell bar, or the assistance of a Smith machine [7], or with the use of a "peck deck" [8], and finally with the type of support (stable bench vs. unstable surfaces) [9]. ...
    Article
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    Background: The bench press exercise (BP) is commonly practiced in both recreational and professional training. The weight is lowered from a position where the elbows are at a 90° angle at the start and <90° at the end of eccentric phase, and then returned to the elbows extended position. In order to focus the exercise more on the triceps brachii (TB) rather than the pectoralis major (PM), the inter-handle distance (IHD) is decreased diminishing the involvement of the PM in favor of the TB. Purpose: To improve performance of the exercise by reducing force dissociation and transmitting 100% of the external load to the muscle tissue we propose a prototype of the barbell with a bar on which two sleeves are capable of sliding. The dynamic modifications of the IHD keep the elbow flexion angle constant at 90°. Results: Analysis of the inter-handle distance (IHD) signals of the upper body muscles showed a marked increase in muscle activity using the experimental barbell for the PM (19.5%) and for the biceps brachii (173%). Conclusions: The experimental barbell increased the muscle activity typical of the bench press exercise, obtaining the same training induction with a lower load and consequently preventing articular stress.
  • ... Por outro lado, para o DA, as posições articulares de 0 e 90° apresentaram um tamanho do efeito moderado (d= 0,89 e 1,26, respectivamente). Por ser um músculo penado, é provável que a rotação de ombro modifique a disposição das fibras musculares em relação à articulação e ao plano de movimento durante o exercício, modificando a atividade muscular do DA, como verificado por Barnett et al. (22) . Os resultados do presente estudo corroboram os achados de Giorgio et al. (11) que não observaram diferença na ativação muscular durante a adução horizontal de ombros em RI e RE. ...
    Article
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    Objective: to compare the myoelectric activity of the pectoralis major (PM) and anterior deltoid (AD) during the pec deck exercise, in maximal isometric voluntary contraction (MIVC) in internal rotation (IR) and external (ER) rotation of the shoulder in different joint positions. Methods: ten healthy male (age: 30 ± 6.37 years, total body mass: 84.6 ± 9.43 kg, height: 178.6 ± 5.60 cm), trained in strength (time of practice: 82.8 ± 63.35 months) performed through three MIVC's for five seconds, and a 15-second interval between contractions in the pec deck exercise in both RI and ER of the shoulder joint. A 10-minute interval was provided to subjects between experimental conditions at three different joint positions: maximum shoulder adduction (0°), shoulder adduction at 45° and 90°. The myoelectric activity of the PM and anterior deltoid AD was evaluated by surface electromyography. Results: there were no significant differences between shoulder rotations for muscle activation in any of the joint positions analyzed for the AD (0°: d=0.89; Δ%=22.46; 45°: d= 0.65; Δ%=17.95 e 90°: d= 1.26; Δ%=21.16) and the PM (0°: d= 0.18; Δ%=5.42; 45°: d=0.29; Δ%=10.08 e 90°: d=0.41; Δ%=16.24). There was a significant increase in muscle activation of the PM in IR at the 90° horizontal abduction position of the shoulder when compared to 45° (P<0.05 d=1.85; Δ%=47.00). Conclusion: the performance of the pec deck exercise in IR and RE does not alter the muscular activity of the PM and the AD, independently of the joint position performed.
  • ... Por outro lado, para o DA, as posições articulares de 0 e 90° apresentaram um tamanho do efeito moderado (d= 0,89 e 1,26, respectivamente). Por ser um músculo penado, é provável que a rotação de ombro modifique a disposição das fibras musculares em relação à articulação e ao plano de movimento durante o exercício, modificando a atividade muscular do DA, como verificado por Barnett et al. (22) . Os resultados do presente estudo corroboram os achados de Giorgio et al. (11) que não observaram diferença na ativação muscular durante a adução horizontal de ombros em RI e RE. ...
    Article
    Revista Brasileira de Pesquisa em Ciências da Saúde. Objective: to compare the myoelectric activity of the pectoralis major (PM) and anterior deltoid (AD) during the pec deck exercise, in maximal isometric voluntary contraction (MIVC) in internal rotation (IR) and external (ER) rotation of the shoulder in different joint positions. Methods: ten healthy male (age: 30 ± 6.37 years, total body mass: 84.6 ± 9.43 kg, height: 178.6 ± 5.60 cm), trained in strength (time of practice: 82.8 ± 63.35 months) performed through three MIVC's for five seconds, and a 15-second interval between contractions in the pec deck exercise in both RI and ER of the shoulder joint. A 10-minute interval was provided to subjects between experimental conditions at three different joint positions: maximum shoulder adduction (0°), shoulder adduction at 45° and 90°. The myoelectric activity of the PM and anterior deltoid AD was evaluated by surface electromyography. Results: there were no significant differences between shoulder rotations for muscle activation in any of the joint positions analyzed for the AD (0°: d=0.89; Δ%=22.46; 45°: d= 0.65; Δ%=17.95 e 90°: d= 1.26; Δ%=21.16) and the PM (0°: d= 0.18; Δ%=5.42; 45°: d=0.29; Δ%=10.08 e 90°: d=0.41; Δ%=16.24). There was a significant increase in muscle activation of the PM in IR at the 90° horizontal abduction position of the shoulder when compared to 45° (P<0.05 d=1.85; Δ%=47.00). Conclusion: the performance of the pec deck exercise in IR and RE does not alter the muscular activity of the PM and the AD, independently of the joint position performed.
  • ... The WGBP is characterized by a smaller range of motion and lower peak heights [5,6] compared to the CGBP. Furthermore, the WGBP is characterized by higher muscular activity in the clavicular and sternal part of the thorax [7], which promotes hypertrophy, especially in the area of the pectoralis major muscle [7][8][9]. The CGBP is characterized by an increased range of motion in the elbow joint [10], which limits the activation of the sternoclavicular part of the thoracic muscle [7,9]. ...
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    Background: The bench press (BP) is a complex upper body exercise. Despite numerous scientific studies, it remains unknown which grip width is optimal for the development of strength and power in the bench press. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the effect of different grip widths on exercise volume, evaluate the time under tension (TUT) and the number of repetitions (REP) completed during 5 consecutive sets of the BP. Material and Methods: The study involved 16 women with a minimum of one year of resistance training experience. Two independent experimental sessions were randomly selected. Participants performed 5 sets of the bench press during each session, with the maximal number of repetitions, using either the WGBP or the CGBP with a constant movement tempo of 2/0/2/0 at 70%1RM. Results: A one-way ANOVA for repeated measures was used, with significance set at p<0.05. The study did not show significant differences in the REP, TUT, as well in total number of repetitions (TREP) and total time under tension (TTUT) between the WGBP and the CGBP. Conclusions: Grip width of the barbell in the bench press does not affect exercise volume during strength training in women.
  • ... During the sEMG recording, each exercise was performed following the same technique described for the 1-RM procedures. The participants performed 4 non-exhaustive repetitions with the 80%1-RM (Barnett, Kippers, & Turner, 1995;McCaw & Friday, 1994), a common training load among resistance trained-men that combines a large muscle recruitment with an appropriate technique (Statsny et al., 2017). Following previous procedures (Barnett et al., 1995;Lauver et al., 2016;Trebs, Brandeburg, & Pitney, 2010) each exercise was executed with a time under tension of 2 s for both the concentric and eccentric phase. ...
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    The current study compared the muscle excitation in free-weight bench press variations and chest press machine. Ten competitive bodybuilders were recruited. The EMG-RMS amplitude of clavicular and sternocostal head of pectoralis major, long head of triceps brachii and anterior and lateral deltoid was recorded while performing horizontal (BP), inclined (45°) (IBP) or declined (-15°) bench press (DBP) and chest press machine (CP). Four non-exhaustive repetitions were performed using 80% of 1-repetition maximum of each exercise. Both concentric and eccentric phases were recorded. During the concentric phase, [d effect size: 2.78/7.80] clavicular head was more excited in IBP and less excited in CP (d: -9.69/-4.39) compared to all other exercises. The sternocostal head was similarly excited in DBP vs BP and BP vs CP and more excited (d: 2.42/9.92) compared to IBP. Triceps brachii excitation was overall greater (d: 2.01/6.75) in BP and DBP compared to all other exercises. Anterior deltoid was less excited (d: 3.84/19.77) in DBP compared to all other exercises. Lateral deltoid excitation was greater (d: 0.96/3.10) in BP, IBP and DBP compared to CP. Muscle excitation during the eccentric phase followed a similar pattern, with the exception of the greater (d: 3.89/11.32) excitation in the clavicular head in BP compared to all other exercises. The present outcomes showed that the excitation of the clavicular and sternocostal head of pectoralis major depends on the bench inclination angle. The use of BP variations vs CP allows overall greater triceps brachii and lateral deltoid excitation, due to the greater instability.
  • ... These may include the wide-grip bench press (WGBP) or the close-grip bench press (CGBP). The WGBP is described as a bench press with a grip width of 200% or more of the biacromial distance (BAD), while the CGBP is defined as a grip width of 95% BAD (Barnett et al., 1995;Lockie et al., 2017aLockie et al., , 2017bWagner et al., 1992). The CGBP and WGBP have been frequently used in training methodology and scientific research. ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    The aim of the study was to determine the effect of the wide-grip bench press (WGBP) and the close-grip bench press (CGBP) on the number of performed repetitions (REPs) and time under tension (TUT) using a variable tempo of movement. Twenty (20) women experienced in resistance training were enrolled in the study (1RM-CGBP = 55.2 ± 9.5 kg; 1RM-WGBP = 52.7 ± 8.5 kg). Participants performed 5 sets of the BP with a maximal number of REPs at 70%1RM. Different tempos of movement, i.e., slow (6/0/X/0) and fast (2/0/X/0), and grip widths, i.e., the CGBP and the WGBP, were employed. The following variables were registered: maximal number of repetitions in every set (REPSet1-5), total number of repetitions performed in 5 sets (TREP), maximal time under tension in every set (TUTSet1-5) and total time under tension in 5 sets (TTUT). The two-way ANOVA revealed statistically significant differences between the WGBPFAST and the WGBPSLOW in TUTSet1-5 (p < 0.05) and TTUT (p < 0.01), as well as between the CGBPFAST and the CGBPSLOW in TUTSet1-5 (p < 0.01) and TTUT (p < 0.01). Significant differences between the WGBPFAST and the WGBPSLOW were also observed in REPSet1-5 (p < 0.01) and TREP (p < 0.01) as well as between the CGBPFAST and the CGBPSLOW in REPSet1-5 (p < 0.01) and TREP (p < 0.01). No significant differences between the WGBPSLOW and the CGBPSLOW nor the WGBPFAST and the CGBPFAST were found. The study demonstrates that the tempo of movement, regardless of the width grip, has a significant effect on the volume of effort in resistance training.
  • ... Indeed, researches using bipolar detection systems reported a higher activation of the PM clavicular region with respect to PM sternocostal region, during the inclined bench press exercise [10,11]. However, other works did not identify differences among PM regions during the same exercise [12]. These distinct results could be explained by electromyography technique used, which allow to detect the activity of a limited muscle volume. ...
    Chapter
    This study implements the novel high-density surface electromyography (EMG) to investigate the distribution of pectoralis major (PM) muscle activity during the inclined bench press exercise. Six healthy male individuals participated in this study. Subjects performed one set of eight repetitions of the inclined (45°) bench press exercise. They used 70% of their one-repetition maximum load. EMGs activity was recorded with an array of sixteen electrodes perpendicularly placed above PM muscle fibers between innervation zone and sternocostal tendon region. For each contraction, the root mean square value (RMS) was computed. Additionally, active channels were defined as EMGs with RMS amplitude greater than 70% of the maximum amplitude for each contraction, respectively. Considering the active channels, the barycenter coordinate was calculated indicating the mean position of the RMS distribution along cranio-caudal axis of PM muscle. For all the volunteers, we identified the barycenter coordinate located near to the clavicular portion, indicating that there is a localized activation on PM during 8 repetitions of the inclined bench press.
  • ... Resistance exercise is an essential component to the training regime of athletes and the general public alike. The bench press is commonly used as a measure of upper-body strength with the prime movers being the pectoralis major, the triceps brachii, and the anterior deltoids (1). While it is clear that the bench press is an upper-body exercise, it is less clear to what extent the lower extremities are, or should be, involved in the exercise. ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    The purpose of this study was to determine if muscle activity of upper extremity muscles differed depending on the involvement of the legs during a bench press. The study included 15 male and 12 female recreationally trained, college age participants. There were 2 testing sessions. Session 1: Participants performed a 1-repetition maximum in a standard bench press followed by a leg-drive familiarization. For the familiarization, participants were instructed in the leg-drive technique (buttocks remained on the bench) and given ample time to practice until comfortable and which satisfied the researchers. Leg-drive pressing force was verified by measuring anterior-posterior and vertical ground reaction forces measured by a force plate. Session 2: Outfitted with surface electromyography (EMG), participants performed 3 repetitions in the bench press with 75% of the standard bench press 1-repetition maximum (1RM) under three conditions: 1) standard 2) leg-drive, 3) legs-in-the-air. The normalized average of the peaks of the three reps for each muscle were analyzed using a 2 x 3 (gender x condition) ANOVA. The ANOVA revealed no significant differences across groups or conditions (pectoralis major p = 0.405, anterior deltoid p = 0.297, triceps brachii p = 0.092). When comparing a standard bench press to leg-drive, our results indicate that similar amounts of muscle activation are required for the task regardless of the leg involvement. This work indicates that using a leg-drive technique that does not allow the buttocks to rise from the bench, does not result in a change in upper extremity muscle activity compared to a standard bench press. Due to lack of differences across conditions, athletes and strength coaches should base their decision on the use of leg-drive on their personal preference.
  • 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.