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Muscle Activation When Performing the Chest Press and Shoulder Press on a Stable Bench vs. a Swiss Ball

Uribe, Brandon P; Coburn, Jared W; Brown, Lee E; Judelson, Daniel A; Khamoui, Andy V; Nguyen, Diamond

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: April 2010 - Volume 24 - Issue 4 - p 1028-1033
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181ca4fb8
Original Research

Uribe, BP, Coburn, JW, Brown, LE, Judelson, DA, Khamoui, AV, and Nguyen, D. Muscle activation when performing the chest press and shoulder press on a stable bench vs. a swiss ball. J Strength Cond Res 24(4): 1028-1033, 2010-The aim of this study was to examine the effects of a stable surface (bench) vs. an unstable surface (Swiss ball) on muscle activation when performing the dumbbell chest press and shoulder press. Sixteen healthy men (24.19 ± 2.17 years) performed 1 repetition maximum (1RM) tests for the chest press and shoulder press on a stable surface. A minimum of 48 hours post 1RM, subjects returned to perform 3 consecutive repetitions each of the chest press and shoulder press at 80% 1RM under 4 different randomized conditions (chest press on bench, chest press on Swiss ball, shoulder press on bench, shoulder press on Swiss ball). Electromyography was used to assess muscle activation of the anterior deltoid, pectoralis major, and rectus abdominus. The results revealed no significant difference in muscle activation between surface types for either exercise. This suggests that using an unstable surface neither improves nor impairs muscle activation under the current conditions. Coaches and other practitioners can expect similar muscle activation when using a Swiss ball vs. a bench.

Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology, California State University, Fullerton, CA

Address correspondence to Dr. Jared W. Coburn,

© 2010 National Strength and Conditioning Association