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Eur J Appl Physiol. 2017 Jul;117(7):1445-1452. doi: 10.1007/s00421-017-3637-6. Epub 2017 May 12.

Mind-muscle connection training principle: influence of muscle strength and training experience during a pushing movement.

Author information

1
National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Copenhagen, Denmark. ximo86@hotmail.com.
2
Research Unit in Sport and Health, Department of Physical Education and Sports, University of Valencia, C/Gascó Oliag 3, 46010, Valencia, Spain. ximo86@hotmail.com.
3
National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Copenhagen, Denmark.
4
Physical Activity and Human Performance Group, SMI, Department of Health Science and Technology, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark.
5
Research Unit in Sport and Health, Department of Physical Education and Sports, University of Valencia, C/Gascó Oliag 3, 46010, Valencia, Spain.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To investigate the effect of different attentional focus conditions on muscle activity during the push-up exercise and to assess the possible influence of muscle strength and training experience.

METHODS:

Eighteen resistance-trained men performed 1RM bench press testing and were familiarized with the procedure during the first session. In the second session, three different conditions were randomly performed: regular push-up and push-up focusing on using the pectoralis major and triceps brachii muscles, respectively. Surface electromyography (EMG) was recorded and analyzed (EMG normalized to max; nEMG) for the triceps brachii and pectoralis major muscles.

RESULTS:

Participants had on average 8 (SD 6) years of training experience and 1RM of 1.25 (SD 0.28) kg per kg bodyweight. Focusing on using pectoralis major increased activity in this muscle by 9% nEMG (95% CI 5-13; Cohen's d 0.60) compared with the regular condition. Triceps activity was not significantly influenced by triceps focus although borderline significant, with a mean difference of 5% nEMG (95% CI 0-10; Cohen's d 0.30). However, years of training experience was positively associated with the ability to selectively activate the triceps (β = 0.41, P = 0.04), but not the pectoralis. Bench press 1RM was not significantly associated with the ability to selectively activate the muscles.

CONCLUSION:

Pectoralis activity can be increased when focusing on using this muscle during push-ups, whereas the ability to do this for the triceps is dependent on years of training experience. Maximal muscle strength does not appear to be a decisive factor for the ability to selectively activate these muscles.

KEYWORDS:

Attentional focus; EMG; Instruction; Muscle activity; Resistance training; Strength

PMID:
28500415
DOI:
10.1007/s00421-017-3637-6
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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