European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 109, Issue 5, pp 789–801 | Cite as

Enhancing the weight training experience: a comparison of limb kinematics and EMG activity on three machines

  • Yasushi Koyama
  • Hirofumi Kobayashi
  • Shuji Suzuki
  • Roger M. Enoka
Original Article


The aim of the study was to compare the kinematics and the timing and amount of electromyographic (EMG) activity during the lat-pull down exercise performed on machines that afforded one, two, or three degrees of freedom for the movement. Seven healthy men (age 29.4 ± 5.6 years) participated in the study. The exercise was performed with a 30% 1-RM load. Three types of machines with varying degrees of freedom were used: Type 1, the conventional device that restricted the movement to a frontal plane; Type 2, the addition of forearm supination–pronation; Type 3, the addition of forearm supination–pronation and horizontal extension–flexion about the shoulder. All exercises involved a technique known as beginning movement load (BML) training in which light loads are lifted with a relaxation-lengthening-shortening sequence of muscle activation. The Type-3 machine showed: (1) the greatest vertical displacement of the wrist (p < 0.05); (2) the greatest abduction–adduction displacement about the shoulder (p < 0.01); (3) the least flexion–extension displacement about the elbow joint (p < 0.01); (4) a peak vertical velocity for the shoulder that preceded (p < 0.01) those for the elbow and then wrist during the pull-down phase; (5) a progressive proximal-to-distal sequence of EMG activation involving the serratus anterior, posterior deltoid, latissimus dorsi, and triceps brachii muscles; (6) a reversal of the roles for biceps and triceps brachii during the pull-down phase. These results suggest that BML exercises with greater degrees of freedom can enhance the association between training actions and functional activities.


EMG activity Kinematics Beginning movement load training Dodge movement 



We are grateful to the staff members of BMLT Foundation of Research, who helped this study. The present study was partly supported by grants from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (2008–2010, No: 20500561 for SS), the Academic Frontier Project (Waseda University, 2005–2010) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yasushi Koyama
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hirofumi Kobayashi
    • 1
  • Shuji Suzuki
    • 1
  • Roger M. Enoka
    • 3
  1. 1.Graduate School of Human SciencesWaseda UniversityTokorozawaJapan
  2. 2.BMLT Foundation of ResearchTottoriJapan
  3. 3.Department of Integrative PhysiologyUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA

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