Perpetua: The UAH Journal of Undergraduate Research


College of Education




The path to increasing muscular strength begins with resistance training. Multiple variations of the bench press exist for strengthening the chest and shoulder musculature. All modalities serve an important role in strength training. PURPOSE: Determine the level of muscle activation of the anterior deltoid (AD), medial deltoid (MD), and pectoralis major (PM) during different bench press scenarios. METHODS: Twenty subjects (10 males,10 females; age = 24±2.99 years) with at least one year of resistance training were recruited. Six electromyographical sensors were placed bilaterally on the targeted muscles. Subjects performed a one-repetition maximum (1-RM) of dumbbell (DB) and barbell (BB) press during two sessions followed by six repetitions at an incline, flat, and decline position using 70% of their 1-RM. Mean peak values for muscle activation were analyzed for each variation. A repeated measures one-way analysis of variance was used to compare muscle activation patterns across conditions; significance was set at p≤0.05. RESULTS: AD activation was significantly higher during incline BB compared to decline BB/decline DB (p≤.019). MD activation was significantly lower across all modalities when compared to AD (p≤.040). PM activation was significantly lower during incline BB compared to decline DB (p=.011). CONCLUSION: Differences among AD and PM may have been due to the stability stipulation variations between DB/BB and the large biacromial breadth requirement. Lack of differentiation of muscle fibers within the PM during sensor placement could have led to lesser muscle activation recordings at a decline.



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