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Electromyographical analysis of the pectoralis major muscle during various chest exercises

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Schanke, Whitnee
Porcari, John
MS, Clinical Exercise Physiology
Dec 2012
Muscles; Electromyography; Chest exercises, Physiological aspects
The purpose of this study was to use electromyography to determine which chest exercise(s) elicited the most muscle activation of the pectoralis major muscle. Subjects for this study were 14 males, 19-30 years of age. The first day of testing a 1RM was determined for the exercises: barbell bench press, bent-forward cable crossovers, seated chest press, incline dumbbell flys, and peck deck machine. Parallel dips, push-ups, suspended push-ups, and Swiss ball push-ups were omitted, because body weight was used for resistance. On the second day of testing, subjects performed five repetitions of each exercise, using 80% of their 1 RM. After each exercise, the subjects were asked their RPE. When analyzing the EMG data, each exercise was compared to the barbell bench press. The analysis showed no significant difference between the peck deck machine, bent-forward cable crossovers, and the barbell bench press. This correlated with the results of the subjects? RPE, except for the inclined dumbbell flys. The remaining exercises elicited significantly lower muscle activation and RPE values. Therefore, it was concluded that the barbell bench press, the peck deck, and bent-forward cable crossovers could be used interchangeably to elicit the greatest muscle activation of the pectoralis major muscle.
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