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Core Muscle Activation During Unstable Bicep Curl Using a Water-Filled Instability Training Tube

Glass, Stephen C.; Blanchette, Taylor W.; Karwan, Lauren A.; Pearson, Spencer S.; O'Neil, Allison P.; Karlik, Dustin A.

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: November 2016 - Volume 30 - Issue 11 - p 3212–3219
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001418
Original Research

Abstract: Glass, SC, Blanchette, TW, Karwan, LA, Pearson, SS, O'Neil, AP, and Karlik, DA. Core muscle activation during unstable bicep curl using a water-filled instability training tube. J Strength Cond Res 30(11): 3212–3219, 2016—The purpose of this study was to assess compensatory muscle activation created during a bicep curl using a water-filled, unstable lifting tube. Ten men (age = 21 ± 1.6 years, height = 180.0 ± 3.3 cm, mass = 87.4 ± 15.0 kg) and 10 women (age = 19.6 ± 1.3 years, height = 161.4 ± 12.0 cm, mass = 61.2 ± 7.4 kg) completed bicep curls using an 11.4-kg tube partially filled with water during a 50% open-valve, 100% open, and control setting. Subjects completed 8 repetitions within each condition with integrated electromyographic signal (converted to percent maximal voluntary contraction) of the bicep, deltoid, rectus abdominus, and paraspinal muscles measured. Compensatory activation was determined using the natural log of coefficient of variation across concentric (CON) and eccentric (ECC) contractions. There were no differences between gender for any condition. Significant variability was seen across treatments for paraspinal muscles for CON and ECC at 50% (CON LnCV = 3.13 ± 0.56%, ECC LnCV = 3.34 ± 0.58%) and 100% (CON = 3.24 ± 0.34%, ECC = 3.46 ± 0.35%) compared with control (CON = 2.59 ± 0.47%, ECC = 2.80 ± 0.61%). Deltoid variability was greater at the 100% open setting (CON = 3.51 ± 0.53%, ECC = 3.56 ± 0.36%) compared with control (CON = 2.98 ± 0.35%, ECC = 2.97 ± 0.45%). The abdominal CON 100% showed variability (3.02 ± 0.47%) compared with control (2.65 ± 0.43%). Bicep activation remained unvaried. Compensatory activation of postural muscles contribute to postural stability. This device may be a useful tool for neuromuscular training leading to improved stability and control.

Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Movement Science, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan

Address correspondence to Stephen C. Glass, glassst@gvsu.edu.

Copyright © 2016 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.