Morton, A., Townsend, J., Moore, H., & Cosio-Lima, L. (2012). A comparison of EMG activity between dumbbell bench, barbell bench, and vertical chest press. Presentation 3275 at the 59th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, San Francisco, California; May 29-June 2, 2012.

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This study compared the effects of the dumbbell bench press, barbell bench press, and vertical chest press on EMG of the anterior deltoid and the pectoralis major in recreationally trained college males (N = 13). Ss were randomized to perform a barbell bench press, dumbbell bench press, or a vertical chest press exercise at 70% 1RM of the barbell bench press while wearing EMG electrodes.

Dumbbell bench produced the greatest anterior deltoid activity while the vertical bench recorded the greatest pectoralis major activity. There were no significant differences in muscle EMG activity between the three exercises for either muscle groups.

Implication. There were no significant differences between barbell bench-press and dumbbell bench. Vertical chest press had a slightly greater mean activation of the pectoralis major when compared to the other two exercises.

This study demonstrated commonality between three exercises. Since they were performed in different formats, discriminating factors must also exist. It is correct to assume that some muscles were used in each of the exercises. It is wrong to assume that those active muscles will benefit sporting activities.

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