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Se-yeon Park and Won-gyu Yoo


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.

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Se-yeon Park, Won-gyu Yoo, Hun Kwon, Dong-hyun Kim, Si-eun Lee and Mi-jin Park

Activation of the upper trapezius, lower trapezius, serratus anterior, and triceps brachii muscles was measured, while center of pressure excursion beneath the hands was simultaneously monitored, during the performance of a push-up exercise on both a stable and an unstable base of support. The activation levels of all muscles were significantly greater for the unstable support surface when compared to those for a stable support surface (p < 0.05). A negative correlation was found between activation of the serriatus anterior muscle and center of pressure excursion (r = -0.64, p < 0.05). Performance of the push-up exercise on an unstable support surface appears to elicit greater muscle activation than a standard push-up exercise performed on a stable support surface.