Electromyographical Activity of the Pectoralis Muscle During Incline and Decline Bench Presses


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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between motor unit recruitment within two areas of the pectoralis major and two forms of bench press exercise. Fifteen young men experienced in weight lifting completed 6 repetitions of the bench press at incline and decline angles of +30 and −15° from horizontal, respectively. Electrodes were placed over the pectoralis major at the 2nd and 5th intercostal spaces, midclavicular line. Surface electromyography was recorded and integrated during the concentric (Con) and eccentric (Ecc) phases of each repetition. Reliability of IEMG across repetitions was r = 0.87. Dependent means t-tests were used to examine motor unit activation for the lower (incline vs. decline) and upper pectoral muscles. Results showed significantly greater lower pectoral Con activation during decline bench press. The same result was seen during the Ecc phase. No significant differences were seen in upper pectoral activation between incline and decline bench press. It is concluded there are variations in the activation of the lower pectoralis major with regard to the angle of bench press, while the upper pectoral portion is unchanged.

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