Verbal Cues Help Athletes Isolate and Activate Muscles

Joshua Wortman
Bodybuilding, Supplements, Nutrition, Strength Training

Recent research indicates humans have some ability to selectively activate or relax certain muscles during isometric or dynamic actions without changing posture or position. A new study was conducted to determine whether trained athletes could isolate either the pectoral or triceps muscles at different intensities when given verbal technique instruction.


bench press, isolating muscle, coaching, cuing, activating muscleThere were 11 Division III football players with at least 6 months of continuous experience with the bench press who participated in the study. The bench press was chosen for the movement to determine muscle recruitment. Each player's 1-rep max on the bench press was determined before the study began.1


Each player performed 3 sets of bench press at 50% of their 1-rep max, as well as 80% of their 1-rep max. Rest periods lasted three minutes between each set. While performing the exercise, electromyographic (EMG) activity was recorded for the agonist muscles: pectoralis major, rear deltoid, and triceps, and the antagonist muscles: biceps, and front deltoids.2


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