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The aim of this study was to evaluate the acute effect of the use of stable and unstable surfaces on electromyography (EMG) activity and coactivation of the scapular and upper-limb muscles during the push-up plus (with full protraction of the scapula). Muscle activation of anterior deltoid (AD), posterior deltoid (PD), pectoralis major, biceps brachii (BB), triceps brachii (TB), upper trapezius (UT), middle trapezius (MT), lower trapezius (LT), and serratus anterior (SA) levels and coactivation index were determined by surface EMG in 20 young men during push-up plus performed on a stable and unstable condition (2 unstable devices applied to hands and feet). The paired t test and Cohen d were used for statistical analysis. The results showed that during the execution of the push-up plus on the unstable surface an increased EMG activity of the scapular stabilizing muscles (SA, MT, and LT) was observed, while AD and PD muscles showed a decrease. During exercise execution on the unstable surface there was a higher index of coactivation of the scapular muscles (SA–MT and UT–LT pairs). No significant differences were observed in TB–BB and AD–PD pairs. These results suggest that the push-up-plus exercise associated with unstable surfaces produced greater EMG activity levels and coactivation index of the scapular stabilizing muscle. On the other hand, the use of an unstable surface does not promote the same effect for the shoulder muscles.

Torres, Nascimento, dos Santos, de Oliveira, Pitangui, and de Araújo are with the Dept of Physical Therapy, University of Pernambuco, Petrolina, Brazil. Pirauá is with the School of Physical Education, and Beltrão, the Dept of Physical Education, Federal Rural University of Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil.

Pirauá ( is corresponding author.