International Journal of Exercise Science 6(4) : 278-288, 2013. The purpose of this study was to assess neural activity for upper body musculature in college-age men during repetitions of a conventional pushup or a Perfect PushupTM. Eighteen healthy men (21.6±1 yr, 182.5±7 cm, 87.4±15 kg) completed five repetitions of a conventional pushup and Perfect PushupTM while using a wide hand base of support for the upper body. Body position, hand placement, and cadence of the pushup were standardized. Root mean square electromyography (RMS-EMG, mV/Sec) was collected for the triceps brachii (TB), pectoralis major (PM), serratus anterior (SA), and posterior deltoid (PD) during all repetitions. RMS-EMG values were normalized to a maximal voluntary isometric contraction in the pushup position (%MVICPU). For each muscle, %MVICPU for repetitions 1, 3, and 5 were analyzed for differences due to type of push-up. No differences in %MVICPU due to type ofpush-up for the TB (p=0.079) or the SA (p=0.45) were detected. The Perfect PushupTM increased %MVICPU compared to the conventional pushup (44%, p<0.05). Additionally, the Perfect PushupTM increased %MVICPU by the third repetition (p<0.05) while the conventional pushup did not until the 5th repetition. The conventional pushup activated more PD (76%, p<0.05). The type of push-up that requires the greatest neural activity for a given number of repetitions should result in improved adaptations. The Perfect PushupTM was superior for activating the pectoralis major while individuals would elicit more neural activation in the posterior deltoid by conventional push-ups. Trainers and rehabilitation specialists should consider these data when attempting to train or isolate upper body skeletal muscles using a push-up movement.
Allen, Caroline C.; Dean, Katie A.; Jung, Alan P.; and Petrella, John K.
"Upper Body Muscular Activation during Variations of Push-Ups in Healthy Men,"
International Journal of Exercise Science: Vol. 6
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijes/vol6/iss4/3