Core Muscle Activation in Suspension Training Exercises

Giovanni Cugliari 1 , 2  and Gennaro Boccia 3 , 4
  • 1 Department of Brain and Behavioral Sciences, Unit of Medical and Genomic Statistics, University of Pavia, Italy
  • 2 Department of Medical Sciences, University of Torino, Torino, Italy
  • 3 CeRiSM Research Center “Sport, Mountain, and Health“, Rovereto, (TN), Italy
  • 4 Motor Science Research Center, School of Exercise & Sport Sciences, SUISM, Department of Medical Sciences, University of Turin. 12, Torino, Italy
Giovanni Cugliari and Gennaro Boccia

Abstract

A quantitative observational laboratory study was conducted to characterize and classify core training exercises executed in a suspension modality on the base of muscle activation. In a prospective single-group repeated measures design, seventeen active male participants performed four suspension exercises typically associated with core training (roll-out, bodysaw, pike and knee-tuck). Surface electromyographic signals were recorded from lower and upper parts of rectus abdominis, external oblique, internal oblique, lower and upper parts of erector spinae muscles using concentric bipolar electrodes. The average rectified values of electromyographic signals were normalized with respect to individual maximum voluntary isometric contraction of each muscle. Roll-out exercise showed the highest activation of rectus abdominis and oblique muscles compared to the other exercises. The rectus abdominis and external oblique reached an activation higher than 60% of the maximal voluntary contraction (or very close to that threshold, 55%) in roll-out and bodysaw exercises. Findings from this study allow the selection of suspension core training exercises on the basis of quantitative information about the activation of muscles of interest. Roll-out and bodysaw exercises can be considered as suitable for strength training of rectus abdominis and external oblique muscles.

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