Leg-drive Does Not Affect Upper Extremity Muscle Activation during a Bench Press Exercise
School of Science Technology and Health
The purpose of this study was to determine if muscle activity of upper extremity muscles differed depending on the involvement of the legs during a bench press. The study included 15 male and 12 female recreationally trained, college age participants. There were 2 testing sessions. Session 1: Participants performed a 1-repetition maximum in a standard bench press followed by a leg-drive familiarization. For the familiarization, participants were instructed in the leg-drive technique (buttocks remained on the bench) and given ample time to practice until comfortable and which satisfied the researchers. Leg-drive pressing force was verified by measuring anterior-posterior and vertical ground reaction forces measured by a force plate. Session 2: Outfitted with surface electromyography (EMG), participants performed 3 repetitions in the bench press with 75% of the standard bench press 1-repetition maximum (1RM) under three conditions: 1) standard 2) leg-drive, 3) legs-in-the-air. The normalized average of the peaks of the three reps for each muscle were analyzed using a 2 x 3 (gender x condition) ANOVA. The ANOVA revealed no significant differences across groups or conditions (pectoralis major p = 0.405, anterior deltoid p = 0.297, triceps brachii p = 0.092). When comparing a standard bench press to leg-drive, our results indicate that similar amounts of muscle activation are required for the task regardless of the leg involvement. This work indicates that using a leg-drive technique that does not allow the buttocks to rise from the bench, does not result in a change in upper extremity muscle activity compared to a standard bench press. Due to lack of differences across conditions, athletes and strength coaches should base their decision on the use of leg-drive on their personal preference.
Electromyography; Resistance Training
International Journal of Human Movement and Sports Sciences
DOI of Published Version
Gardner, Jacob Kale, "Leg-drive Does Not Affect Upper Extremity Muscle Activation during a Bench Press Exercise" (2019). Faculty Articles & Research. 486.