Are The Muscle Activations Different In Various Type Of Push-Up Exercise?

Kam Ming MOK*, Christianne On Nor Anna HO, Patrick Shu Hang YUNG, Kai-Ming CHAN

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Other Conference ContributionsAbstractpeer-review


Push-up exercises are widely used to build strength and endurance in muscles primarily across the upper body, and it is a recommended home-based strengthening exercise. Few biomechanics investigations of push-ups had been done focusing on the activation of upper limb major muscles in different hand positions. However, their results cannot fully explain the workload done by Triceps Brachial (TB), Pectoral Major (PM) and Anterior Deltoid (AD) with substantial quantifiable evidence.

The aim of this study is to measure the EMG signals of TB, PM and AD while performing push-ups in five different hand positions.

Design and Particpants
Twelve subjects performing push-ups using EMG to collect data to compare. The 5 different hand positions are neutral, narrow base, wide base, anterior and posterior positions. The mean of peak EMG signals of three repetitions were extracted for comparison. A non-parametric Kruskal-Wallis H test was applied and followed by Wilcoxon Signed-Rank test as the post hoc paired difference test. A Bonferroni correction of p=0.01 was applied which was derived from p=0.05/5.

TB were activated significant more in anterior, neutral and narrow base when compared to wide base and posterior position. No significant differences found in PM and AD from different hand positions.

Higher muscle activation of TB in anterior, neutral and narrow base positions implies that the training effect of TB may be higher in the above-mentioned hand positions. Further study on the increase in muscle strength is needed to ensure the findings.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes


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