Austin Salzgeber1, John P. Porcari1, Charlend Howard1, Blaine E. Arney1, Attila Kovacs1, Cordial Gillette1, Carl Foster1. Muscle Activation during Several Battle Rope Exercises. 1Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, La Crosse, WI, USA.
Introduction: Training with battle ropes (BR) has become popular in recent years as a modality to increase cardiorespiratory endurance and improve muscular strength and endurance. However, there is limited research on the training responses to BR training, especiallyin regards to muscle activation. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to 1) compare electromyographic (EMG) responses in the vastus medialis (VM), gluteus maximus (GM), erector spinae (ES), external oblique (EO), rectus abdominis (RA), upper trapezius(UT), anterior deltoid (AD), and palmaris longus (PL) during five BR exercises to determine which exercises produced the greatest muscle activation, and 2) determine if the muscles tested were activated to a sufficient degree (greater than 40% MVIC) to increase muscle strength. Methods: Twelve males performed the following exercises in a random order: Double Arm Slams, Double Arm Waves, Double Alternating Waves, Single Arm Waves, and Double Outside Circles. Surface EMG was recorded and represented as a percent of the maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC). Results: All of the muscles tested were contracting at greater than 40% MVIC for Double Arm Slams and Double Arm Waves. During Double Alternating Waves, all of the muscles were contracting above 40% MVIC except for the VM and the RA. During Double Outside Circles, all the muscles, except for the RA and AD, were contracting above 40% MVIC. For Single Arm Waves, all of the muscles were contracting above 40% MVIC except the VM, GM, and the RA. Conclusions: Based on these results, Double Arm Slams and Double Arm Waves would be the best exercises to improve total body muscle strength. However, most of the other exercises could provide strength benefits in select muscles, depending upon the specific motion.