Dynamic and electromyographical analysis in variants of push-up exercise

J Strength Cond Res. 2005 Feb;19(1):146-51. doi: 10.1519/14733.1.


The purpose of the study was to record dynamic and muscular modifications during push-up exercise variants (EV). Eight healthy men performed 6 EV of push-ups: normal, abducted, adducted, posterior, anterior, and on knees. Ground-reaction forces were recorded with a force plate while surface muscular activity with electrodes on triceps and pectoralis major. Significant differences (p < 0.05) existed for most vertical force variables but not for anteroposterior force and time variables. The initial load relative to body weight was 66.4% at the normal position, while only 52.9% at the on-knees EV. Muscle activity was less during the on-knees EV for both muscles. At the posterior EV, pectoralis major was activated higher than normal; however, triceps were activated lower than normal. Dynamic behavior and muscle activity were significantly altered between push-up EV. Instructions for push-up exercises should be followed carefully because dynamic and muscular challenge is altered when hands are differently positioned.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Computer Simulation
  • Electromyography
  • Exercise*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Recruitment, Neurophysiological / physiology
  • Upper Extremity / physiology*
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology*