Comparison of the EMG Activity of the Supraspinatus and Infraspinatus Muscles During Various Closed Chain Exercises

Date of Award

Summer 8-1998

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Rehabilitation Sciences


Physical Therapy

Committee Director

Martha Walker

Committee Member

John L. Echtermach

Committee Member

George Maihafer

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.P45 L66


Advantages of closed chain exercises used in the lower extremity have been well documented. However, the effects of closed chain exercises on the upper extremities have not been studied very much. Thus, the purpose of this research is to analyze the EMG activity of the supraspinatus and infraspinatus muscles and compare the relative amounts of activities by performing different isotonic closed chain exercises and an open chain exercise in normal subjects. The supraspinatus and infraspinatus muscles in 1 o healthy subjects were studied with fine wire, intramuscular, electromyographic electrodes while performing 5 closed chain exercises and a D2. open chain exercise.! The 5 closed chain exercises studied were forward wall push-ups, sideways wall push-ups, knee push-ups, regular push-ups, and press-up. The EMG activity was quantified as a percentage of the maximal manual muscle test. The forward wall push-ups showed least EMG activity and the knee push-ups showed highest EMG activity for both of the supraspinatus and infraspinatus muscles. However, the muscle recruitment of each individual. may be very. different. Caution should be used when beginning the closed chain exercises for those patients with rotator cuff muscle injury. The best time to add closed chain exercises is after patients regain their muscle strength at the late stage of the strengthening phase.


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