Multi-angular strength training stimulates biceps more intensively
The most useful studies on the optimal form of strength training often have a high open-door content, and the research that sports scientists at the University of Tampa published in Sports is no exception to that rule. According to the American study, a training in which strength athletes work on a muscle group at different angles is more effective than a training in which athletes limit themselves to one tried and tested basic exercise.
The researchers got 11 students, who had been doing strength training for at least a year, to train their biceps on 2 different occasions. Both workouts consisted of 9 sets.

Sometimes the students trained their biceps with standard curls. They stood up straight. [B] The other times the students divided the 9 sets into 3 different exercises [A, B and C]. The difference between the exercises was in the angle that the upper arms made relative to the shoulders.

The test subjects provided the same amount of work for both courses, you can see at the bottom left. Whether they only trained the biceps with the standard exercise, or with three different exercises, the training volume remained the same.

However, the average electrical voltage that the electrodes recorded was greater in multi-angular training. This means that the subjects trained their biceps more intensively. You can see that in the bottom right.


" Varying joint angles during resistance training may enhance total muscle activation and can potentially induce more strain without negatively affecting volume load within a training session in resistance-trained individuals, " write the researchers." From a practical application point of view, resistance-trained subjects or bodybuilders trying to maximize the training stimulus or each session should utilize multiple exercises that vary joint angles. This may lead to a greater internal stimulus (muscle activation) while performing the same amount of total work (volume) . "

" However, we cannot draw conclusions on how this may affect chronic adaptations, as this was an acute study ."
Sports (Basel). 2019 Sep 4; 7 (9).

The Effects of Varying Glenohumeral Joint Angle on Acute Volume Load, Muscle Activation, Swelling, and Echo-Intensity on the Biceps Brachii in Resistance-Trained Individuals
1 Department of Health Science and Human Performance, University of Tampa, Tampa, FL 33606, USA
2 School of Physical Education, University of Campinas, Campinas 13083-851, Brazil*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.

Sports 2019, 7(9), 204;
Received: 2 August 2019 / Revised: 31 August 2019 / Accepted: 2 September 2019 / Published: 4 September 2019
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There is a paucity of data on how manipulating joint angles during isolation exercises may impact overall session muscle activation and volume load in resistance-trained individuals. We investigated the acute effects of varying glenohumeral joint angle on the biceps brachii with a crossover repeated measure design with three different biceps curls. One session served as the positive control (CON), which subjects performed 9 sets of bicep curls with their shoulder in a neutral position. The experimental condition (VAR), varied the glenohumeral joint angle by performing 3 sets in shoulder extension (30°), 3 sets neutral (0°), and 3 sets in flexion (90°). Volume load and muscle activation (EMG) were recorded during the training sessions. Muscle swelling and strain were assessed via muscle thickness and echo-intensity responses at pre, post, 24 h, 48 h, and 72 h. There were no significant differences between conditions for most dependent variables. However, the overall session EMG amplitude was significantly higher (p = 0.0001) in VAR compared to CON condition (95%-CI: 8.4% to 23.3%). Our findings suggest that varying joint angles during resistance training (RT) may enhance total muscle activation without negatively affecting volume load within a training session in resistance-trained individuals. View Full-Text
Keywords: muscle length-tension relationship; bodybuilding; exercise selection; echo-intensity; muscle strain
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