Muscle activity and spine load during pulling exercises: influence of stable and labile contact surfaces and technique coaching

Stuart M. McGill, Jordan Cannon, Jordan T. Andersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study examined pulling exercises performed on stable surfaces and unstable suspension straps. Specific questions included: which exercises challenged particular muscles, what was the magnitude of resulting spine load, and did technique coaching influence results. Fourteen males performed pulling tasks while muscle activity, external force, and 3D body segment motion were recorded. These data were processed and input to a sophisticated and anatomically detailed 3D model that used muscle activity and body segment kinematics to estimate muscle force, in this way the model was sensitive to each individual's choice of motor control for each task. Muscle forces and linked segment joint loads were used to calculate spine loads. There were gradations of muscle activity and spine load characteristics to every task. It appears that suspension straps alter muscle activity less in pulling exercises, compared to studies reporting on pushing exercises. The chin-up and pull-up exercises created the highest spine load as they required the highest muscle activation, despite the body "hanging" under tractioning gravitational load. Coaching shoulder centration through retraction increased spine loading but undoubtedly adds proximal stiffness. An exercise atlas of spine compression was constructed to help with the decision making process of exercise choice for an individual.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)652-665
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Electromyography and Kinesiology
Volume24
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Labile contact surfaces
  • Pulling exercises
  • Suspension straps
  • Technique coaching

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