Cody W. Walker Ɨ1, Adam Brungerǂ1, Steven Tuckerǂ1, Rock Leeǂ1 1University of Central Arkansas, Conway, Arkansas

The muscle up (MU) is a variation of a common gymnastics movement that combines a pull up and a dip. It has been used in high intensity body weight programs as a way to train pulling and pushing movements and can be performed on a bar or a set of rings. The difference in muscle activation (MA) between a bar muscle up (BMU) and ring muscle up (RMU) is not clear. PURPOSE: Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare the MA of selected shoulder and arm muscles during a BMU and RMU. METHODS: Ten active males (27.6 ± 7.9 years) volunteered to participate in this study. Participants performed 5 repetitions of each style of MU (BMU and RMU) in randomized order. Muscle activation of the upper (UT) and lower trapezius (LT), serratus anterior (SA), pectoralis major (PM), latissimus dorsi (LD), triceps brachii (TB), biceps brachii (BB), and forearm flexors (FF) was measured using electromyography (EMG). The EMG signals were normalized to the subject’s maximal voluntary isometric contraction. A 2 X 2 ANOVA (ring vs bar, pull phase vs push phase) with repeated measures was performed for each muscle. Least significant differences (LSD) post hocs were performed when a significant interaction effect occurred. RESULTS: The RMU significantly (p < 0.005) elicited more muscle activation in the UT (p=0.007), BB (p=0.001), and FF (p=0.001) during the pull phase. The RMU also significantly (p < 0.005) elicited more muscle activation in the TB (p=0.025) and BB (p=0.001) during the push phase. CONCLUSION: Although the RMU and BMU are performed in similar patterns, there are different muscle activations. The RMU creates a more unstable environment that increases muscle activation of smaller muscle groups such as the biceps brachii and forearm flexors. From these results, the best training progress would be to teach and train the BMU after larger muscle groups are trained though pulling exercises and then teach and train the RMU after the smaller muscle groups are trained.

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