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Table 1 Average trunk and shoulder muscle activity during the push up and push up plus exercises when performed on a Swiss ball and an exercise bench.

From: Shoulder muscle EMG activity during push up variations on and off a Swiss ball

  Triceps Pectoralis Major Rectus Abdominis External Oblique
  Bench Ball Bench Ball Bench Ball Bench Ball
PUHands 22.2 ± 8.8 *43.1 ± 17.3
p = .002
21.4 ± 11.8 26.65 ± 14.5
p = .341
13.4 ± 5.4 22.6 ± 8.6
p = .001
20.9 ± 15.6 24.07 ± 11.9
p = .1191
PUFeet 32.7 ± 17.5 29.9 ± 10.1
p = .355
30.4 ± 9.7 29.9 ± 7.6
p = .717
19.2 ± 6.9 19.6 ± 7.14
p = .742
27.79 ± 13.2 26.7 ± 9.8
p = .575
PUPHands 18.7 ± 10.3 *29.6 ± 14.7
p = .024
14 ± 7.2 21.4 ± 18.5
p = .079
14.9 ± 5.5 *25.4 ± 10.2
p = .011
19.2 ± 11.9 *23.9 ± 11.9
p = .0069
  1. Muscle activity is expressed as a percentage of a maximum voluntary contraction (%MVC). A * indicates a statistically significant difference (p < .05) between the exercises using a Swiss ball or bench as the support surface (PUHands = Push up with hands on bench/ball, PUFeet = push up with feet on ball/bench and PUPHands = push up plus exercise with hands on ball/bench).