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Grip Width and Forearm Orientation Effects on Muscle Activity During the Lat Pull-Down

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Based on electromyographic (EMG) studies, an anterior (in front of the face) wide grip with a pronated forearm has been recommended as the optimal lat pull-down (LPD) variation for strengthening the latissimus dorsi (LD) (Signorile, JF, Zink, A, and Szwed, S. J Strength Cond Res 16: 539-546, 2002; Wills, R, Signorile, J, Perry, A, Tremblay, L, and Kwiatkowski, K. Med Sci Sports Exerc 26: S20, 1994). However, it is not clear whether this finding was because of grip width or forearm orientation. This study aimed to resolve this issue by comparing wide-pronated, wide-supinated, narrow-pronated, and narrow-supinated grips of an anterior LPD. Twelve healthy men performed the 4 grip variations using an experimentally determined load of 70% of 1 repetition maximum. Two trials of 5 repetitions were analyzed for each grip type. Participants maintained a cadence of 2-second concentric and 2-second eccentric phases. The grip widths were normalized for each individual by using a wide grip that corresponded to their carrying width and a narrow grip that matched their biacromial diameter. Surface EMG of the LD, middle trapezius (MT), and biceps brachii (BB) was recorded, and the root mean square of the EMG was normalized, using a maximum isometric voluntary contraction. Repeated-measures analysis of variance for each muscle revealed that a pronated grip elicited greater LD activity than a supinated grip (p < 0.05), but had no influence of grip type on the MT and BB muscles. Based on these findings, an anterior LPD with pronated grip is recommended for maximally activating the LD, irrespective of the grip width (carrying width or biacromial diameter).
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GRIP WIDTH AND FOREARM ORIENTATION EFFECTS
ON MUSCLE ACTIVITY DURING THE LAT PULL-DOWN
STEPHEN J. LUSK,BRUCE D. HALE,AND DANIEL M. RUSSELL
Department of Kinesiology, The Pennsylvania State University—Berks, Reading, Pennsylvania
ABSTRACT
Lusk, SJ, Hale, BD, and Russell, DM. Grip width and forearm
orientation effects on muscle activity during the lat pull-down.
J Strength Cond Res 24(X): 000–000, 2010—Based on
electromyographic (EMG) studies, an anterior (in front of the
face) wide grip with a pronated forearm has been recom-
mended as the optimal lat pull-down (LPD) variation for
strengthening the latissimus dorsi (LD) (Signorile, JF, Zink, A,
and Szwed, S. J Strength Cond Res 16: 539–546, 2002;
Wills, R, Signorile, J, Perry, A, Tremblay, L, and Kwiatkowski, K.
Med Sci Sports Exerc 26: S20, 1994
AU2 ). However, it is not clear
whether this finding was because of grip width or forearm
orientation. This study aimed to resolve this issue by comparing
wide-pronated, wide-supinated, narrow-pronated, and narrow-
supinated grips of an anterior LPD. Twelve healthy men
performed the 4 grip variations using an experimentally
determined load of 70% of 1 repetition maximum. Two trials
of 5 repetitions were analyzed for each grip type. Participants
maintained a cadence of 2-second concentric and 2-second
eccentric phases. The grip widths were normalized for each
individual by using a wide grip that corresponded to their
carrying width and a narrow grip that matched their biacromial
diameter. Surface EMG of the LD, middle trapezius (MT), and
biceps brachii (BB) was recorded, and the root mean square of
the EMG was normalized, using a maximum isometric voluntary
contraction. Repeated-measures analysis of variance for each
muscle revealed that a pronated grip elicited greater LD activity
than a supinated grip (p,0.05), but had no influence of g
AU3 rip
type on the MT and BB muscles. Based on these findings, an
anterior LPD with pronated grip is recommended for maximally
activating the LD, irrespective of the grip width (carrying width
or biacromial diameter).
KEY WORDS EMG, latissimus dorsi, pronation, supination
INTRODUCTION
During a lat pull-down (LPD), the humerus is
adducted under load via a pulley system. This
exercise is commonly employed in an effort
to strengthen the latissimus dorsi (LD) muscle,
hence its name, and is also expected to activate the
rhomboids, middle trapezius (MT), and biceps brachii (BB)
muscles. There are several different variations of body
position, grip width, and forearm orientation that can be
employed. The bar can be pulled down in front of the face
(anterior LPD) or behind the head (posterior LPD), the hands
can be narrowly or widely spaced, and the radioulnar joint
can be pronated or supinated. Yet research to determine the
optimal variation of the LPD for particular muscle
development is limited. Currently, much of the literature on
the strength-building capacity of this exercise is based on
personal beliefs and experiences (3,4,16), although a few
investigations have used electromyography (EMG) to
quantify the amount of activity in different muscles during
different types of LPDs (10,12,14,15). These studies have
provided several scientifically based weight training recom-
mendations, but questions remain about the most effective
combination of grip width and forearm orientation.
Research has led to the general consensus that the anterior
LPD is preferred to the posterior LPD. Most studies
comparing the activity of the LD under both conditions
have found that the anterior LPD elicits greater muscle
activation (by EMG) than the posterior LPD (11,12,14). Only
1 study failed to observe any significant difference in muscle
activity between anterior and posterior LPDs (15). There
have also been safety concerns that pulling down the bar
behind the head puts the arm into horizontal abduction with
excessive external rotation, placing unnecessary stress on the
anterior shoulder (4,9,16). Functionally, it would also appear
that the anterior LPD more closely mimics activities of daily
living than the posterior LPD. Because of these past results
and safety concerns, the current research investigation
focused only on variations of the anterior LPD.
A wide grip front pull (anterior) has been proposed as the
most effective LPD variation for the developing the LD (12).
This claimis based solely on 2 EMG studies comparing a wide
grip-pronated forearm position (wide-pronated [WP]) with
a narrow grip–supinated forearm position (narrow supinated
[NS]), which have found significantly greater AU1LD activation
Address correspondence to Dr. Bruce Hale, bdh1@psu.edu.
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with WP than NS (12,15). However, 1 EMG study failed to
observe any significant difference in LD activity between WP
and NS conditions (10). These contradictory results may be
explained by 2 major differences in experimental design.
Firstly, EMG was recorded during an isometric contraction
(10) in contrast to EMG of concentric and eccentric phases of
the LPD (12,15). Recording EMG during isotonic muscle
actions provides a better assessment of the amount of muscle
activity during a typical LPD exercise. Secondly, participants
selected their own workload (10), with most performing at
about 30–40% of 1 repetition maximum (1RM), whereas the
workload was experimentally controlled in the other 2 studies
at 10RM (12) and 70% of maximum voluntary contraction
(MVC) (15). It is more valid to assess muscle activity at a level
close to typical training workloads (e.g., 70% of 1RM as per
ACSM
AU4 guidelines [1] for strength training), rather than 30–
40% of 1RM. These criticisms suggest that the observation of
greater LD activity for the WP than the NS grip (12,15) is
a more valid and reliable finding for providing isotonic
exercise recommendations.
However, the recommendation that a wide grip is preferred
over a narrow grip (12,13) cannot be directly drawn from
the finding of an advantage of WP over NS. In addition
to varying the grip width between conditions, the forearm
orientation (pronation vs. supination) was altered too.
Therefore, the benefit of WP over NS on LD activation
could arise from grip width, forearm orientation, or some
combination of the 2. Therefore, the goal of the current study
was to resolve this dilemma by comparing all 4 possible
combinations of grip width and forearm orientation in a fully
balanced design: WP, wide supinated (WS), narrow pronated
(NP), and NS. These combinations have not been previously
tested, we only hypothesize that WP will activate LD more
than NS. This study will also assess MT and BB, because
these muscles are also believed to be trained during an LPD
(9,10,14).
METHODS
Experimental Approach to the Problem
Although the anterior WP grip has been recommended as the
most effective and safest type of LPD (12), it is not clear
whether this is because of the particular grip width or
forearm orientation used, as previous studies have
confounded these variables. The current study employed
a balanced design to compare grip width (wide vs. narrow),
forearm orientation (pronated vs. supinated), and any
interaction, by testing WP, WS, NP, and NS anterior grips.
The sequence of these conditions was randomized in an
effort to negate any possible effects of practice or fatigue.
To normalize grip width for different sized individuals, we
standardized the grip width based on anthropometric
measures. As with previous research, the biacromial diameter
was used as the narrow grip width (10,12). There is no
standard width for a wide grip. One study employed 150% of
biacromial diameter (10), whereas another used the distance
from the fist to the seventh cervical vertebrae (12). In an effort
to use an anthropometric measure that relates to a wide-grip
LPD, we employed Ôcarrying width.ÕThis is the distance
between the hands (left to right fifth metacarpophalangeal
joint) when standing in the anatomical reference position.
A standard LPD bar was used for all grips. To standardize the
weight across conditions, 70% of 1RM was determined from
participants performing a test of 1RM according to ACSM
guidelines (1) at least 48 hours before testing. Because
a previous study (12) found no significant difference for
10RM between WP and NS grips (,1 kg), we used a single
1RM test. Although the LPD is primarily used to develop the
LD, it is also performed to train the MT and BB (9,10,14).
Therefore, EMG signals were recorded from the LD,
MT, and BB muscles. In accordance with previous research,
the root mean square of each EMG signal (rmsEMG) was
employed to quantify the average muscle activity (10,12,15).
The rmsEMG for each participant and condition was then
normalized to the rmsEMG of an isometric MVC. The
normalized rmsEMG was then compared across conditions
by using a 2 32 (width 3orientation) repeated-measures
analysis of variance (ANOVA) separately for each muscle.
This experimental design permits an empirical test of which
combination of grip width and forearm orientation elicits the
most activity in the LD, MT, and BB.
Subjects
Participants were 12 men aged 19–30 with an average age =
22.7 63.1 years. The participants’ average mass was 85.86 6
11.94 kg, and their average height was 1.82 60.10 m. The
average biacromial diameter for all participants was 0.40 6
0.03 m, and the average carrying width was 0.76 60.06 m.
The average 1RM for all participants was 99.46 619.58 kg.
Participants were all free of known musculoskeletal problems
of the upper body. This study only examined participants who
were previously familiar with the LPD lift and currently lifted
weights on a regular basis but were not competitive
bodybuilders, weightlifters, or powerlifters. All subjects were
tested during the 2008 fall semester at the Berks Campus
of Pennsylvania State University. The Institutional Review
Board for the use of human subjects of the Pennsylvania State
University granted permission for this study. Participants
signed an informed consent after being informed of the
experimental risks of the study and before any data collection.
Equipment
Participants used a standard lat bar on the LPD station of
a 4-Stack Multi-Jungle weight machine (Model SM40; Life
Fitness, Schiller Park, IL, USA). An auditory quartz
metronome (Model XB700; Franz Mfg. Co. Inc., East Haven,
CT, USA) was used to provide a consistent cadence
throughout the study. Disposable Ag–AgCl pregelled snap
electrodes (EL501; BIOPAC Systems, Inc., Goleta, CA) were
placed in pairs over the skin, and parallel to the fibers, of the
LD, MT, and BB muscles. The LD electrodes were positioned
obliquely (25°above the horizontal) and 0.04 m below the
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Grip Width and Forearm Orientation
inferior angle of the scapula (6). The MT electrodes were
placed 0.03 m lateral to the second spinous process of the
thoracic spine with the electrodes placed parallel to muscle
fibers (5). The second thoracic vertebra was located by
palpating for the seventh cervical vertebrae and counting the
spinous processes in a descending fashion until the second
thoracic vertebrae was located and marked. If differentiating
the seventh cervical vertebrea was problematic, the partic-
ipant was instructed to bend the head forward to differentiate
the most prominent cervical vertebrea from the first thoracic
vertebra (13). The BB electrodes were placed one-third the
distance from the cubital fossa to the acromion process (17).
Ground electrodes were placed on the acromion process
(1 electrode) and the spine of the scapula (2 electrodes).
The skin sites were initially prepared by shaving the hair
and abrading the skin, before cleaning with an alcohol swab.
The distance between the electrode centers was standardized
at 0.0375 m. Three shielded lead sets (SS2; BIOPAC Systems
Inc.) connected the electrodes to a 4-channel remote moni-
toring system (TEL100M-C; BIOPAC Systems Inc), which
has an impedance of 2 MVand a common mode rejection
ratio of 110 dB. All of the leads were taped in place with a loop
on the skin and further secured with an elastic bandage
around the participant’s torso and upper arm to reduce
interference and were examined for stability during a simu-
lated pull-down. The remote monitoring system was con-
nected to a data acquisition and analysis system (MP100;
BIOPAC Systems Inc.). The experimenters controlled data
acquisition and postprocessing via AcqKnowledge software
(version 3.7.3 for Windows; BIOPAC Systems Inc.) running
on a microcomputer. Data were collected at a sampling rate of
500 Hz, and the raw EMG signals were amplified by a gain
set at 1,000.
Procedures
During the initial visit, the following anthropometric
measurements were taken: height, weight, biacromial di-
ameter, and carrying width. Biacromial diameter was
measured from the lateral aspect of the left to the right
acromion processes using anthropometric tape. Carrying
width was measured by asking the participants to stand with
the palm of their hands facing the sides of their legs. Then the
participants were asked to supinate their radioulnar joints
so that the palms faced forward, whereas the humeri were
maintained beside the body (similar to the anatomical
reference position). From this position, the carrying width
was measured from the left fifth metacarpophalangeal joint
to the right fifth metacarpophalangeal joint, using anthropo-
metric tape. The carrying width was used as the wide
grip (W), whereas the biacromial diameter was used as the
narrow grip (N) in this study.
After recording the anthropometric measures, the exercise
protocol was described. Although participants were familiar
with an LPD exercise, the specific technique, inhalation and
exhalation rhythm for lifting, and metronome pacing were
prescribed. After ensuring that participants were comfortable
performing the LPD as directed, a 1RM test was performed
according to ACSM guidelines (1). The grip width for the
1RM was standardized with all participants placing the
second phalanx on each hand at the bend in the bar with
a pronated grip.
The EMG testing session took place at least 48 hours after
initial testing, and the participants were instructed not to
exercise until final testing was completed. The EMG
equipment was set up and zeroed before being connected
to the electrodes that were placed on each participant. The
participants performed the 4 conditions (WP, WS, NP,
and NS) in a random order, using 70% of 1RM load. The
cadence of 2-second concentric and 2-second eccentric
phases was prescribed by an auditory beep and visual flash of
a metronome. Participants performed 2 trials of 5 repetitions
for each condition before moving onto the next, with a
2-minute rest between each trial and condition.
The participants were again instructed visually and verbally
how to perform an LPD. The thigh restraint pads were
adjusted so the thigh and leg formed a 90°angle with the feet
flat on the floor (8). The participants were instructed to be
slightly extended at the hips to prevent any collisions with
the bar and head and to pull the lat bar down in a straight
vertical plane from a slightly flexed position to the
participant’s chin in a slow and controlled manner (9). The
lat bar was lowered for them, and they remained seated for
the entire testing session. Participants started with the elbows
slightly flexed and the bar pulled down to the chin for
all conditions. Although this meant the amplitude of the
movements was not identical across conditions, it ensured
the lifts were functionally equivalent. The movement was
initiated with scapular depression and retraction, which was
held throughout the length of the repetitions until the bar
reached the resting position (4,9). The participants were then
instructed to begin performing the lifts. The participants were
told not to pause at each metronome beep, but slowly transi-
tion between the lifting and lowering phases, and requested
to inspire on the eccentric, and expire on the concentric
muscle actions. With participants performing the LPD
correctly and at the right tempo, 5 repetitions were recorded,
making up a 20-second trial. If a participant failed to perform
correctly, the trial was repeated after a 2-minute rest.
After testing all conditions, participants performed an
isometric maximum exertion. The isometric exercise was an
LPD with the shoulders abducted p/2 rad and both elbows
flexed p/2 rad. Participants placed the second phalanx on
each hand at the bend in the bar, with a pronated grip, as
done for the 1RM test.
Electromyographic Analyses
For each trial and muscle, the raw EMG signal was amplified
by a gain of 1,000 and filtered using a 10-Hz high pass filer.
The filtered EMG signal was then smoothed and rectified by
calculating the root mean square (rmsEMG) for a 30-data
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sample moving window (0.06 seconds). The average
rmsEMG was then computed for the 2 20-second trials
under each condition. The raw EMG signal for each muscle
during the maximal isometric contraction was processed in
the same way as above, except that an average was computed
for only 1 second of maximal activity to avoid effects of
fatigue. To normalize the data (normalized root mean square
of each EMG signal [NrmsEMG]), the average rmsEMG for
each condition was divided by the average rmsEMG for the
maximal isometric contraction.
Statistical Analyses
Normalized root mean square of each EMG signal was
analyzed separately for each muscle by 32 32 (Width 3
Orientation) repeated-measures ANOVAs. All statistical
procedures were performed
using SPSS statistical software
version 15.0 (SPSS Inc., Chica-
go, IL, USA), and the alpha
level was selected as p#0.05.
Intraclass correlation coeffi-
cients (ICCs) were computed
for NrmsEMG of each muscle
separately. All 3 dependent
variables indicated strong con-
sistency (ICC 0.87, 0.85, and
0.76 for LD, MT, and BB
muscles, respectively).
RESULTS
No significant difference was
found for LD activity between
the wide and narrow grips (p=
0.711, power = 0.064). In con-
trast, there was a significant
main effect for forearm orien-
tation on NrmsEMG of the LD
(p= 0.012, power = 0.776). The
LD demonstrated greater acti-
vation during a pronated hand
grip (M= 0.67) than a supinated
hand grip (M= 0.63) (see
Figure 1 F1and Table 1). The
interaction T1of grip width and
hand orientation had no signif-
icant effect on LD activation
(p= 0.185, power = 0.253). The
statistical analyzes of the
NrmsEMG of MT and BB
muscles revealed no significant
main effects or interactions (see
Table 1).
DISCUSSION
In agreement with previous
literature, a WP grip LPD
elicited greater LD muscle activity than an NS grip LPD
(12,15). However, our findings indicated this was because of
using a pronated forearm orientation, not a wide grip width
as proposed by others (12,15). Previous studies based their
conclusions by comparing WP with NS, so that the results
obtained could have been because of grip width, forearm
orientation or a combination of the 2. To avoid this concern,
we employed a fully balanced design to compare WP, WS,
NP, and NS conditions. In contrast with prior recommen-
dations, grip width did not significantly influence the LD, and
neither was an interaction of grip width and orientation
observed. The only significant finding indicated that the LD
was more active under a pronated grip than a supinated grip.
Hence, our results for identical conditions match previous
TABLE 1. Mean and SDs(n= 12) of NrmsEMG for LD, MT, and BB during WP, WS,
NP, and NS.*
WP WS NP NS
LD 0.67160.142 0.61760.130 0.66460.154 0.64060.154
MT 0.578 60.204 0.553 60.211 0.537 60.168 0.543 60.171
BB 0.377 60.098 0.424 60.115 0.427 60.151 0.434 60.147
*NrmsEMG = normalized root mean square electromyography; LD = latissimus dorsi; MT =
middle trapezius; BB = biceps brachii; WP = wide-pronated grip; WS = wide-supinated grip,
NP = narrow-pronated grip; NS = narrow-supinated grip.
Pronated grips produced greater activation than supinated grips (p,0.05).
Figure 1. Mean (n= 12) normalized root mean square electromyography (NrmsEMG) for the latissimus dorsi (LD)
during different grip widths (wide and narrow) and forearm orientations (pronated and supinated). The brackets A
and B indicate a significant main effect of grip orientation (*p,0.05), revealing that pronated grips produced
greater LD activation than supinated grips, irrespective of grip width.
4
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Grip Width and Forearm Orientation
studies of an isotonic LPD (12,15). The only findings they
contradict are those for an isometric LPD, which found no
differences in the LD between WP and NS grips (10).
It would seem that results from an EMG analysis of isometric
muscle actions are not necessarily applicable to an isotonic
exercise.
The different types of grip failed to significantly influence
the EMG data for the MT and BB muscles. These findings
agree with an earlier study that compared WP with NS and
failed to observe any significant difference in muscle
activation (10), but as noted above, those findings were
based on an isometric LPD. It might have been predicted that
with a supinated grip the BB has a more efficacious angle of
pull, but there is no training advantage for the BB between
the different types of grip tested.
It is also useful to look at the amount of NrmsEMG for each
muscle, which indicates the proportion of maximum activity
and therefore provides an estimate of the relative activity of
each muscle. On average, the LD was activated at 65% of an
isometric MVC, whereas the MT and BB were activated at
55 and 42%, respectively. Because the LPD was performed
using a load of 70% 1RM, these results would indicate that the
LD was being activated at appropriate training levels. In
contrast, it would seem that both the MT and BB were
activated at lower levels. This suggests that all 4 grip types
primarily activated the LD, and to a lesser extent the MTand
BB. Therefore, an LPD is best employed to strengthen the LD
and is not an optimal exercise for developing the MT or
BB muscles.
We hypothesize that the LD is more active during
a pronated grip vs. a supinated grip because of a greater joint
moment at the shoulder. Previous research has suggested that
a WP grip involves greater abduction and horizontal
abduction than an NS grip, which in turn leads to more
LD activity (12). However, the finding here that grip width
had no significant effect on the electrical activity of the
muscles contradicts this proposal. With the LD being less
active during a supinated grip, it might be expected that other
muscles would compensate by being more active. Surpris-
ingly, both MT and BB were active at similar levels for all
4 grips. Also, in another EMG study, which compared WP
and NS grips, none of the muscles (pectoralis major, posterior
deltoid, triceps brachii, and teres major) assessed were more
active during an NS grip. These findings suggest that
a pronated grip places the shoulder at a mechanical
disadvantage that requires greater LD activity but does not
affect the MT or BB muscles. A biomechanical analysis of
joint moments during a pull-up (2) provides an explanation
for our results. The analysis revealed that using a pronated
grip leads to a larger overall perpendicular distance between
the shoulder joint and pull-up bar than a supinated grip,
causing a greater joint moment at the shoulder. In addition,
the wrist and elbow joints, and shoulder girdle were not
found to be significantly involved during the pull-up, nor
were they influenced by the forearm orientation. Because the
pull-up is similar to the LPD, we propose that a pronated
LPD grip creates a larger joint moment at the shoulder than
a supinated grip, which in turn requires greater LD activity to
lift the same load.
PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS
With the main goal of an LPD being to develop the LD
muscles, it is important to know which variation best activates
this muscle. The findings from this study indicate that
a pronated grip is optimal for training the LD in an anterior
LPD. Contrary to the claim that a wide grip is best (12,15), the
findings here show that there is no difference between
narrow and wide grip widths with a pronated grip
orientation. Prior research has identified safety concerns
and reduced LD muscle activity for a posterior LPD (12).
Taking these results together, we conclude that an anterior
LPD with a pronated grip is recommended for safely and
optimally training the LD, irrespective of the grip width
(either carrying width or biacromial diameter). Although the
MT and BB were active at similar levels for the different grip
types of LPD, other exercises are likely to better train these
muscles.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This study was funded by a Division of Science Undergrad-
uate Research Grant, The Pennsylvania State University
Berks, Reading, PA.
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6
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
the
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Grip Width and Forearm Orientation
... iliopsoas and rectus femoris) to a lesser extent as a Performing the lat-pulldown from a kneeling position would create the neutral hip position that is more consistent with the traditional pull-up (and assisted pull-up) exercise. Research has recently begun to investigate the muscle activity of the latpulldown when varying the hand grip width and technique Dickie [10]; Lusk, Hale and Russell [11], Signorile, Zink and Szwed [12], Sperandei, Barros, Silveira-Junior and Oliveira [13]. However, to the knowledge of the authors of this study, the activation magnitudes of the prime movers during alternative pulling exercises compared to that of the BW pull-up has yet to be explored. ...
... pronated, supinated, etc.) and movement techniques (e.g. behind the neck versus in front of the neck, PU with rings, kipping PU, etc.) for the PU and lat-pulldown exercises Andersen [15], Dickie [10], Lusk [11], Signorile [12], Snarr [8], Snarr [9], Sperandei [13], Youdas [22]. This made it difficult to compare current EMG data to that of previously published data, specifically with the k-LP variation. ...
... These sports contain movements, which rely heavily on the muscles that produce adduction of the shoulder joint [6] . A few studies have been done on the acute effects of lat-pull down exercises by examining the electromyography (EMG) responses of muscle groups responsible for the movement [6,7,8,9,10] . But none of the research has been done to analyse the effect of variations in Pull-ups. ...
... Various studies have investigated the EMG responses of different pull-ups, Chin-ups, and/or lat pull down exercises [4,6,7,9,10,12,13,14] . However, there is limited data on the EMG responses of pull-ups even though all the six types of pull-ups appear to have similar movement patterns. ...
... The findings were supported by the previous study where Doma and Deakin [10] found that during the chin-up and lat pulldown exercise, both exercises produced greater muscle activity in the agonists' LD and BB compared to the antagonists' pectoralis major and triceps brachii. A previous study also found that supinated grips stimulated more BB, while pronated grips activated more LD [12,16]. ...
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Background and Study Aim. Chin-up is an exercise that is done to improve the strength, muscular endurance and size of the upper back and arm muscles. There are many ways to perform chin-up exercises including by performing it with different forms of knee flexion. This study aims to examine the effects of knee flexion on muscle activation and performance during chin-up exercise. Material and Methods. A total of twenty-one healthy trained male (age 20-25 years old) were recruited and were instructed to perform chin-up exercises in three knee conditions: i) knee fully flexed, ii) partial knee flexed, and iii) straight knee. Chin-up performance was measured by the number of repetitions performed in three sets. Muscle activation was measured using EMG and taken from latissimus dorsi (LD), posterior deltoid (PD), and biceps brachii (BB) during both concentric and eccentric phase. One-way repeated measure Analysis of Variances (ANOVA) were conducted to compare the muscle activation and number of repetitions performed across the three variation of chin-up exercise. Results. Findings showed that during the concentric phase, BB recorded higher muscle activation during straight knee compared to knee fully flexed and partial knee flexed, p < .05. In addition, chin-up performance during straight knee and partial knee flexed were better than knee fully flexed, p < .05. Conclusions. The results of this study demonstrated the importance to consider techniques manipulation during exercises due to its effects on acute responses as shown by number of repetitions and muscle activation in this study that might also affect the long-term outcomes.
... 1,2 This learned skill involves a heavily loaded upper limb moving through a large, overhead, range of motion, and variations in hand orientation and grip width are thought to target different upper body muscles. 3,4 Common injuries among athletes regularly performing such overhead tasks include impingement, tendonitis, and rotator cuff tears, 5 which may be due, in part, to the large forces required to actuate the pull-up movement. Rotator cuff damage can be caused by exposure to repetitive loading, 6 and biceps tendonitis among overhead athletes may be exacerbated by high stress in both brachialis and biceps brachii. 2 Kinematic factors such as high humeral elevation, increased humeral internal rotation, and decreased scapular posterior tilt are also thought to contribute to impingement injuries. ...
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Heavily loaded overhead training tasks, such as pull‐ups are an effective strength training and rehabilitation exercise requiring high muscle forces maintained over a large range of motion. This study used experiments and computational modelling to examine loading patterns during three different pull‐up variants and highlighted risks to vulnerable musculoskeletal structures. Optical motion tracking and a force platform captured kinematics and kinetics of 11 male subjects with no history of shoulder pathology, during performance of three pull‐up variants – pronated front grip, pronated wide grip, and supinated reverse grip. UK National Shoulder model (UKNSM) simulated biomechanics of the shoulder girdle. Muscle forces and activation patterns were analyzed by repeated measures ANOVA with post‐hoc comparisons. Motor group recruitment was similar across all pull‐up techniques, with upper limb depression occurring secondary to torso elevation. Stress‐time profiles show significant differences in individual muscle patterns among the three pull‐up variants, with the most marked differences between wide grip and reverse grip. Comparing across techniques, latissimus dorsi was relatively more active in wide pull‐ups (p<0.01); front pull‐ups favored activation of biceps brachii and brachialis (p<0.02); reverse pull‐ups displayed higher proportional rotator cuff activation (p<0.01). Pull‐ups promote stability of the shoulder girdle and activation of scapula stabilizers and performing pull‐ups over their full range of motion is important as different techniques and phases emphasize different muscles. Shoulder rehabilitation and strength & conditioning programs should encourage incorporation of all three pull‐up variants with systematic progression to provide greater global strengthening of the torso and upper limb musculature.
... Foi verificado em estudo realizado [2] que o exercício de puxada pela frente com pegada aberta e pronada foi superior na atividade elétrica do LD que os exercícios de puxada por trás, puxada com pegada supinada e puxada com pegada neutra. O mesmo foi observado em estudo recente [3] que revelou que a pegada pronada demonstrou maior atividade para o LD do que a pegada supinada, independente da largura da pegada. Contudo, a parcela de contribuição de cada músculo em cada movimento não é precisa, o que torna a análise dos movimentos ainda mais subjetiva, podendo comprometer a elaboração adequada de um programa de treinamento [4]. ...
Article
O presente estudo teve por objetivo verificar se a utilização de um acessório no treinamento de força, o strap, influencia no volume total de repetições no exercício puxada pela frente com pegada neutra. Foram selecionados 10 indivíduos universitários do gênero masculino com idade media 23,5 ± 1,27 anos. Os participantes realizaram a pesquisa em 3 dias distintos. No 1º dia, o teste de 1RM foi aplicado. No 2º e 3º dia, os participantes executaram 3 séries a 75% de 1RM, executando aleatoriamente com ou sem o uso do strap, separados por pelo menos 48 horas de descanso. Como resultado, percebeu-se que houve diferenças significativas entre os tratamentos, com um incremento no número total de repetições realizadas com a utilização do strap.Palavras-chave: strap, pegada fechada, número de repetições.
... Several studies have reported ~twofold greater myoelectric activity of the pectoralis major compared to the triceps brachii during performance of the bench press [37,38]. Similarly, the lat pulldown and seated row result in greater myoelectric activity in the latissimus dorsi compared to the biceps brachii, although the disparity in EMG amplitude between muscles diminishes when a supinated grip is employed [39,40]. Interestingly, the narrowing of the latissimus dorsi to biceps brachii ratio in EMG amplitude occurred primarily due to a reduction in myoelectric activity of the latissimus dorsi as opposed to an increase in biceps brachii activity. ...
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Resistance training volume, determined by the number of sets performed (set-volume) is considered one of the key variables in promoting muscle hypertrophy. To better guide resistance exercise prescription for weekly per-muscle training volume, the purpose of this paper is to provide evidence-based considerations for set-volume ratios between multi-joint (MJ) and single-joint (SJ) exercises so that practitioners can better manage prescription of training volume in program design. We analyzed this topic from three primary areas of focus: (1) biomechanical and physiological factors; (2) acute research; and (3) longitudinal research. From a biomechanical and physiological standpoint, when considering force production of different muscle groups, the moment arm of a given muscle, “motor abundance”, the link between biomechanics and exercise-induced fatigue, as well as the amount of time in voluntary muscle activation, a logical rationale can be made for SJ exercises producing greater hypertrophy of the limb muscles than MJ exercises (at least from specific exercises and under certain conditions). This would mean that sets for a MJ exercise should be counted fractionally for select muscles compared to an SJ exercise (i.e., less than a 1:1 ratio) when prescribing set-volumes for given muscles. When considering results from acute studies that measured muscle activation during the performance of SJ and MJ exercises, it seems that MJ exercises are not sufficient to maximize muscle activation of specific muscles. For example, during performance of the leg press and squat, muscle activation of the hamstrings is markedly lower than that of the quadriceps. These results suggest that a 1:1 ratio cannot be assumed. Current longitudinal research comparing the effects of training with MJ vs. SJ or MJ + SJ exercises is limited to the elbow flexors and the evidence is somewhat conflicting. Until more research is conducted to derive stronger conclusions on the topic, we propose the best advice would be to view set-volume prescription on a 1:1 basis, and then use logical rationale and personal expertise to make determinations on program design. Future research should focus on investigating longitudinal hypertrophic changes between MJ and SJ in a variety of populations, particularly resistance-trained individuals, while using site-specific measures of muscle growth to more systematically and precisely compute effective individualized set-volumes.
Article
The lat pulldown is an open kinetic chain, multijoint exercise that is appropriate for novice, intermediate, and advanced level exercisers and can be performed with a number of types f equipment and requires minimal equipment to perform. It 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. Its utility as a safe and effective strength development tool is predicated on sound instruction, effective supervision, and proper execution.
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Background Dumbbell curl (DC) and barbell curl in its two variants, straight (BC) or undulated bar (EZ) are typical exercises to train the elbow flexors. The aim of the study was to verify if the execution of these three variants could induce a selective electromyographic (EMG) activity of the biceps brachii (BB) and brachioradialis (BR). Methods Twelve participants performed one set of ten repetitions at 65% of their 1-RM for each variant of curl. Pre-gelled electrodes were applied with an inter-electrode distance of 24 mm on BB and BR. An electrical goniometer was synchronously recorded with EMG signals to determine the concentric and eccentric phases of each variant of curl. Results We detected higher activation profile of both BB ( P < 0.05) and BR ( P < 0.01) during the EZ compared to the DC. Higher levels of activation was found during the concentric phase for only the BR performed with an EZ compared to DC ( P < 0.001) and performing BC compared to DC ( P < 0.05). The eccentric phase showed a higher activation of the BB muscle in EZ compared to DC ( P < 0.01) and in BC compared to DC ( P < 0.05). The BR muscle showed a higher activation performing EZ compared to DC ( P < 0.01). Discussion The EZ variant may be preferred over the DC variant as it enhances BB and BR EMG activity during the whole range of motion and only in the eccentric phase. The small difference between BC and EZ variants of the BB and BR EMG activity makes the choice between these two exercises a matter of subjective comfort.
Article
Background and Purpose. Performing nontraditional abdominal exercises with devices such as abdominal straps, the Power Wheel, and the Ab Revolutionizer has been suggested as a way to activate abdominal and extraneous (nonabdominal) musculature as effectively as more traditional abdominal exercises, such as the crunch and bent-knee sit-up. The purpose of this study was to test the effectiveness of traditional and nontraditional abdominal exercises in activating abdominal and extraneous musculature. Subjects. Twenty-one men and women who were healthy and between 23 and 43 years of age were recruited for this study. Methods. Surface electromyography (EMG) was used to assess muscle activity from the upper and lower rectus abdominis, external and internal oblique, rectus femoris, latissimus dorsi, and lumbar paraspinal muscles while each exercise was performed. The EMG data were normalized to maximum voluntary muscle contractions. Differences in muscle activity were assessed by a 1-way, repeated-measures analysis of variance. Results. Upper and lower rectus abdominis, internal oblique, and latissimus dorsi muscle EMG activity were highest for the Power Wheel (pike, knee-up, and roll-out), hanging knee-up with straps, and reverse crunch inclined 30 degrees. External oblique muscle EMG activity was highest for the Power Wheel (pike, knee-up, and roll-out) and hanging knee-up with straps. Rectus femoris muscle EMG activity was highest for the Power Wheel (pike and knee-up), reverse crunch inclined 30 degrees, and bent-knee sit-up. Lumbar paraspinal muscle EMG activity was low and similar among exercises. Discussion and Conclusion. The Power Wheel (pike, knee-up, and roll-out), hanging knee-up with straps, and reverse crunch inclined 30 degrees not only were the most effective exercises in activating abdominal musculature but also were the most effective in activating extraneous musculature. The relatively high rectus femoris muscle activity obtained with the Power Wheel (pike and knee-up), reverse crunch inclined 30 degrees, and bent-knee sit-up may be problematic for some people with low back problems.
Article
To compare the effectiveness of five different muscle training movements on the biceps brachii, latissimus dorsi and trapezius muscles, eight weight-trained men (age, 20.4 ± 0.5 years) were asked to perform three repetitions, at 70% one repetition maximum, of upright rowing (UR) and bent-over rowing (BR) exercises using a barbell ; and seated rowing (SR), front lat pull-down (LPf) and back lat pull-down (LPb) exercises using a Universal Machine. The activities of the biceps brachii, latissimus dorsi, and trapezius during the elbow flexsion and elbow extension phases of each exercise were analyzed using integrated electromyography (EMG) and normalized I-EMG. The results were as follows : 1. The mean nrmsEMG values for the biceps brachii were larger during UR and LPf exercises than during BR, SR, and LPb exercises, suggesting that UR and LPf are more effective than the other movements for training the biceps brachii. The mean nrmsEMG values for the latissimus dorsi were larger during SR, LPf, and LPb exercises, followed by BR and UR exercises (in descending order), suggesting that SR, LPf, and LPb exercises are more effective than the other movements for training the latissimus dorsi. 2. The mean nrmsEMG values for the upper trapezius were larger during UR and BR exercises than during SR, LPf, and LPb exercises, suggesting that UR and BR exercises are more effective than the other movements for training the upper trapezius. The mean nrmsEMG values for the middle trapezius were larger during BR and SR exercises than during UR, LPf, and LPb exercises, suggesting that BR and SR exercises are more effective than the other movements for training the middle trapezius. The mean nrmsEMG values for the lower trapezius were larger during BR exercise than during other movements, suggesting that BR exercise is more effective than the other movements for training the lower trapezius. 3. In all the exercises, each muscle showed a higher nrmsEMG value during the elbow flexsion phase than during the elbow extension phase. This observation suggests that the training method examined in this study should emphasize the elbow flexsion movement. The present results suggest that UR exercise is the most effective movement for training the biceps brachii and upper trapezius, BR is most effective for training the upper trapezius, middle trapezius and lower trapezius, SR is most effective for training the latissimus dorsi and middle trapezius, LPf is most effective for training the biceps brachii and latissimus dorsi, and LPb is most effective for training the latissimus dorsi.