Electromyographic activity of rectus abdominis during a suspension push-up compared to traditional exercises


The purpose of this study was to compare the electromyographic (EMG) activity of the rectus abdominis (RA) across three different exercises [i.e., suspension pushup (SPU), standard pushup (PU) and abdominal supine crunch (C)]. Fifteen apparently healthy men (n = 12, age = 25.75 ± 3.91 yrs) and women (n = 3, age = 22.33 ± 1.15) volunteered to participate in this study. The subjects performed four repetitions of SPU, PU, and C. The order of the exercises was randomized. Mean peak EMG activity of the RA was recorded across the 4 repetitions of each exercise. Raw (mV) and normalized (%MVC) values were analyzed. The results of this study showed that SPU and C elicited a significantly greater (P<0.05) activation of the RA reported as raw (2.2063 ± 1.00198mV and 1.9796 ± 1.36190mV, respectively) and normalized values (68.0 ± 16.5% and 52 ± 28.7%, respectively) compared to PU (i.e., 0.8448 ± 0.76548mV and 21 ± 16.6%). The SPU and C were not significantly different (P>0.05). This investigation indicated that SPU and C provided similar activation levels of the RA that were significantly greater than PU.

Document Type



Core, EMG, Exercise, Suspension training

Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of Exercise Physiology Online