Activation of the shoulder and arm muscles during axial load exercises on a stable base of support and on a medicine ball

J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2008 Jun;18(3):472-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2006.09.009. Epub 2007 Jan 10.


The purpose of this study was to compare SEMG activities during axial load exercises on a stable base of support and on a medicine ball (relatively unstable). Twelve healthy male volunteers were tested (x=23+/-7 y). Surface EMG was recorded from the biceps brachii, anterior deltoid, clavicular portion of pectoralis major, upper trapezius and serratus anterior using surface differential electrodes. All SEMG data are reported as percentage of RMS mean values obtained in maximal voluntary contractions for each muscle studied. A 3-way within factor repeated measures analysis of variance was performed to compare RMS normalized values. The RMS normalized values of the deltoid were always greater during the exercises performed on a medicine ball in relation to those performed on a stable base of support. The trapezius showed greater mean electric activation amplitude values on the wall-press exercise on a medicine ball, and the pectoralis major on the push-up. The serratus and biceps did not show significant differences of electric activation amplitude in relation to both tested bases of support. Independent of the base of support, none of the studied muscles showed significant differences of electric activation amplitude during the bench-press exercise. The results contribute to the identification of the levels of muscular activation amplitude during exercises that are common in clinical practice of rehabilitation of the shoulder and the differences in terms of type of base of support used.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Arm / physiology*
  • Electromyography / methods
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Reference Values
  • Shoulder / physiology*
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology*