Multi-and Single-Joint Resistance Exercises Promote Similar Plantar Flexor Activation in Resistance Trained Men

The present study aimed to compare soleus, lateral, and medial gastrocnemius muscles activation during leg press and calf raise exercises in trained men. The study involved 22 trained men (27.1 ± 3.6 years, 82.7 ± 6.6 kg, 177.5 ± 5.2 cm, 3.6 ± 1.4 experience years) who performed one set of each exercise using a 10-repetition maximum (10RM) load in a counterbalanced randomized order and separated by 10 min of rest. The electromyographic signal was measured for the three major plantar flexors: soleus, medial, and lateral gastrocnemius. A comparison between exercises showed that the mean adjusted by peak values during the leg press were 49.20% for the gastrocnemius lateralis, 51.31% for the gastrocnemius medialis, and 50.76% for the soleus. Values for calf raise were 50.70%, 52.19%, and 51.34% for the lateral, medial gastrocnemius, and soleus, respectively. There were no significant differences between exercises for any muscle (lateral gastrocnemius (p = 0.230), medial gastrocnemius (p = 0.668), and soleus (p = 0.535)). The present findings suggest that both leg press and calf raises can be used with the purpose to recruit triceps surae muscles. This bring the suggestion that one can chose between exercises based on personal preferences and practical aspects, without any negative impact on muscle activation.

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