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J Phys Ther Sci. 2013 Jul;25(7):833-7. doi: 10.1589/jpts.25.833. Epub 2013 Aug 20.

Surface EMG during the Push-up plus Exercise on a Stable Support or Swiss Ball: Scapular Stabilizer Muscle Exercise.

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Department of Medical Science, GyeongJu University.


[Purpose] Scapular stabilizer strengthening exercise is crucial for shoulder rehabilitation. The purpose of this study was to compare two types of push-up plus exercises, on a stable and unstable bases of support, using surface electromyography (EMG), to suggest an effective shoulder rehabilitation program. [Subjects and Methods] Ten healthy men volunteered for this study. All volunteers performed two sets of push-up plus exercise (standard push up and knee push up) on stable and unstable bases of support. The muscle activities of five important scapular stabilizer muscles (upper trapezius, middle trapezius, lower trapezius, serratus anterior, latissimus dorsi) were recorded during the exercise. [Results] The upper trapezius showed greater mean electric activation amplitude in the scapular retraction posture than in the scapular protraction posture, and the serratus anterior showed greater mean electric activation amplitude in the scapular protraction posture than in the scapular retraction posture. The root-mean-square normalized EMG values of the muscles were greater during the exercise performed on the unstable support than those on the stable support. [Conclusion] The standard push-up plus exercise on an unstable base of support helps to increase muscle activity, especially those of the upper/middle trapezius and serratus anterior.


Push-up plus; Scapular stabilizer; Surface EMG

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