Effects of Push-Up Exercise Phase and Surface Stability on Activation of the Scapulothoracic Musculature

in International Journal of Athletic Therapy and Training
Se-yeon Park MS, PT1 and Won-gyu Yoo PhD, PT1
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  • 1 Inje University
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The purpose of this study was to measure muscle activation during ascending and descending phases of the push-up exercise on both stable and unstable support surfaces.


Fourteen asymptomatic male amateur badminton players. During push-up exercises on stable and unstable bases, muscle activation measurements were collected with phase divisions (ascending and descending phase).


Electromyography (EMG) was utilized to measure activation of the upper trapezius (UT) and lower trapezius (LT), middle serratus anterior (MSA) and lower serratus anterior (LSA), pectoralis major (PM), and triceps brachii (TB) muscles.


An unstable support surface produced significantly greater activation of the UT, LT, LSA, and PM muscles than a stable support surface (p < 0.05). The MSA, LSA, TB, and PM muscles demonstrated greater activation during the ascending phase than the descending phase of the push-up exercise (p < 0.05).


The unstable support surface appeared to produce relatively greater activation of the LSA than that of the MSA. The descending phase of the push-up did not demonstrate a higher level of activation for any of the muscles tested.

Se-yeon Park is with the Department of Physical Therapy, The Graduate School, Inje University, Republic of Korea.

Won-gyu Yoo is with the Department of Physical Therapy, College of Biomedical Science and Engineering, Inje University, Republic of Korea.

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