Superior Training-Specific Adaptations With an 8-Week Yoak Push-up Training Program

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Lima, C, Li, Y, Low, JL, Herat, N, and Behm, DG. Superior training-specific adaptations with an 8-week yoak push-up training program. J Strength Cond Res 32(9): 2409–2418, 2018—There are few progressive metastability training programs in the literature. The purpose of this study was to investigate changes in strength, endurance, muscle activation, and neuromuscular efficiency after an 8-week progressive, push-up training program under stable and unstable conditions. Nineteen male and female recreationally trained participants performed twice per week, an 8-week push-up training program, using either a relatively unstable suspension system (Yoak) or under stable conditions. Participants were tested in 2 separate sessions before and after training for chest press maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) forces, and unstable and stable push-up endurance. Participants were tested during all testing measures for anterior deltoid, biceps brachii (BB), triceps brachii (TB), and serratus anterior (SA) electromyography (EMG) activity. The training progression consisted of altering the suspension configurations, push-up height, and increasing the number of sets (1–3 sets). The stable group performed 153.3 and 33.8% less repetitions than the Yoak group when performing push-ups on the Yoak device or stable floor, respectively (p = 0.03). Training-induced MVIC forces were 9.2% (p = 0.03) greater for the Yoak vs. the stable group. Regarding neuromuscular efficiency, the Yoak group decreased (30.4%; p = 0.01) and stable group increased (97.8%; p = 0.02) antagonist BB EMG activity from pre- to post-training. Both groups decreased the TB fatigue index from pre- to post-training. Nevertheless, Yoak group demonstrated 12.5% (p = 0.09) and 8.9% (p = 0.02) lower fatigue indexes with TB and SA, respectively, than the stable group. These findings suggest that Yoak training demonstrates superior improvements over stable training for push-up endurance, neuromuscular efficiency, MVIC, and fatigue index.

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