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MEDICINA DELLO SPORT
A Journal on Sports Medicine
Official Journal of the Italian Sports Medicine Federation
Indexed/Abstracted in: BIOSIS Previews, EMBASE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
Impact Factor 0,163
Medicina dello Sport 2015 March;68(1):9-18
language: English, Italian
Rectus abdominis and rectus femoris muscle activity while performing conventional unweighted and weighted seated abdominal trunk curls
Brown G. A. 1, Heiserman K. 1, Shaw B. S. 2, Shaw I. 2, 3
1 Department of Kinesiology and Sport Sciences, Physical Activity and Wellness Laboratory, University of Nebraska Kearney, Kearney, NE, USA;
2 Department of Sport and Movement Studies, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa;
3 Research Department, Monash University Australia (South Africa Campus), Ruimsig, Republic of South Africa
AIM: Traditionally, abdominal exercises use exercises such as sit-ups and abdominal trunk curls, also known as crunches, without the use of equipment, despite the use of such equipment possibly increasing abdominal muscle development. However, the effectiveness of specific exercises are typically based on functional anatomical evaluations, empiric measurements, or subjective perception. The present study was thus conducted to compare the surface electromyographic (SEMG) activity of the rectus abdominis (RA) and rectus femoris (RF) muscle during trunk-flexion exercises using two abdominal exercises (traditional unweighted abdominal trunk curls (TRAC) and weighted seated abdominal trunk curls (WEIC)).
METHODS: Subjects performed 5 repetitions of TRAC, WEIC at 50% of one-repetition maximum (1-RM) and WEIC at 75% 1-RM. Ten male and 10 female apparently healthy, collegiate college students. To compare the SEMG activity of the RA and RF muscles during trunk-flexion exercises using two abdominal exercises, exercises were performed in a randomized order: TRAC, WEIC at 50% of estimated 1-repetition maximum (1-RM) and WEIC at 75% 1-RM. SEMG activity was recorded for the RA and RF during 5 consecutive repetitions of each of the exercise bouts and mean SEMG amplitudes used in the final analysis.
RESULTS: No significant (P>0.05) difference existed in EMG amplitude amongst the exercise conditions for the RA. EMG amplitudes were significantly greater in the RF during the WEIC at 75% 1-RM (2.31±0.31 V) when compared to WEIC at 50% 1-RM (1.26±0.23 V) and TRAC (0.19±0.07 V).
CONCLUSION: Performing abdominal exercises using weighted seated abdominal trunk curls did not elicit greater activity of the RA when compared to traditional unweighted abdominal trunk curls. Use of weighted seated abdominal trunk curls elicited greater RF activity than when performing traditional unweighted abdominal trunk curls effectively resulting in greater involvement of the hip flexors, an undesirable feature of abdominal exercises.