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A Comparison of Muscle Activity Between a Free Weight and Machine Bench Press.

McCaw Steven T.; Friday, Jeffrey J.
Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: November 1994
Article: PDF Only

This study calculated IEMG values during the ascent and descent phases of the bench press and compared the values between lifts performed with free weights versus a guided weight machine. In Phase 1 of the study the l-RM on each mode was determined for each subject. In Phase 2, EMG data were collected from five muscles of the upper extremity while each subject completed five trials at 80% of 1-RM and five trials at 60% of 1-RM for each mode. Linear envelopes were created from the EMG data of each trial, and IEMG values were calculated during the descent and ascent phases of each trial. Planned comparisons were used to compare mean IEMG values between the two loads within the same mode, and between the two modes at both the 60% and 80% loads. Results suggested greater muscle activity during the free-weight bench press, especially at the 60% 1-RM load, although there were notable differences among the patterns of individual subjects.

(C) 1994 National Strength and Conditioning Association