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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Muscle Activation in Traditional and Experimental Barbell Bench Press Exercise: A Potential New Tool for Fitness Maintenance

1
PhD Program in “Systems, Technologies and Devices for Movement and Health” at the University of Cassino and Southern Lazio, 03043 Cassino, Italy
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Sport and Exercise Medicine Centre (SEM), Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, 43125 Parma, Italy
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Unit SBiBiT (Biomedical, Biotecnological and Translational Sciences), Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, 43125 Parma, Italy
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Anatomy and Histology Section, Department of Morphology and Experimental Medicine and Surgery, University of Ferrara, 44121 Ferrara, Italy
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Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, University of Cassino and Southern Lazio, 03043 Cassino, Italy
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Department for Life Quality Studies, University of Bologna, 40126 Bologna, Italy
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PhD Program in “Molecular Medicine” at the University of Parma, 43125 Parma, Italy
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Department of Human, Social and Health Sciences, University of Cassino and Southern Lazio, 03043 Cassino, Italy
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School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, Curtin University, Bentley, Perth 6102, Western Australia, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Equally contributed, first author.
Sports 2019, 7(10), 224; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7100224
Received: 5 September 2019 / Revised: 11 October 2019 / Accepted: 14 October 2019 / Published: 17 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physiological Responses and Adaptations in Resistance Exercise)
Background: The bench press exercise (BP) is commonly practiced in both recreational and professional training. The weight is lowered from a position where the elbows are at a 90° angle at the start and <90° at the end of eccentric phase, and then returned to the elbows extended position. In order to focus the exercise more on the triceps brachii (TB) rather than the pectoralis major (PM), the inter-handle distance (IHD) is decreased diminishing the involvement of the PM in favor of the TB. Purpose: To improve performance of the exercise by reducing force dissociation and transmitting 100% of the external load to the muscle tissue we propose a prototype of the barbell with a bar on which two sleeves are capable of sliding. The dynamic modifications of the IHD keep the elbow flexion angle constant at 90°. Results: Analysis of the inter-handle distance (IHD) signals of the upper body muscles showed a marked increase in muscle activity using the experimental barbell for the PM (19.5%) and for the biceps brachii (173%). Conclusions: The experimental barbell increased the muscle activity typical of the bench press exercise, obtaining the same training induction with a lower load and consequently preventing articular stress. View Full-Text
Keywords: bench press; inter-handle distance barbell; fitness maintenance bench press; inter-handle distance barbell; fitness maintenance
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MDPI and ACS Style

Melani, A.; Gobbi, G.; Galli, D.; Carubbi, C.; Masselli, E.; Neri, L.M.; Giovinco, G.; Cicchella, A.; Galuppo, L.; Presta, V.; Vaccarezza, M.; Vitale, M.; Mirandola, P. Muscle Activation in Traditional and Experimental Barbell Bench Press Exercise: A Potential New Tool for Fitness Maintenance. Sports 2019, 7, 224.

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