Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Health, Physical Education, and Recreation

Committee Chair(s)

Eadric Bressel


Eadric Bressel


Edward M. Heath


Brian T. Larsen


The purpose of this study was to compare core muscle activity during resistance exercises performed on stable ground versus an unstable surface and to examine whether lifting at different relative intensities affects core muscle activity levels. Twelve trained men performed four different movements including the deadlift, back squat, military press, and curl. Surface electromyography (EMG) was utilized to assess the activity of the rectus abdominis, external oblique, transversus abdominis, and erector spinae muscles. Participants performed each movement under three separate conditions including standing on stable ground with 50% of their one repetition maximum (1-RM), standing on a BOSU balance trainer with 50% of their 1-RM and, standing on stable ground with 75% of their 1-RM. The following muscles exhibited greater activity during the 75% 1-RM condition than all other conditions: the transversus abdominis (TA) and external oblique (EO) muscles during the deadlift; the rectus abdominis (RA) during the squat; the TA, RA, and EO during the press, and TA and erector spinae (ES) during the curl. The ES muscle during the press movement and EO during the squat movement were more active during the BOSU 50% 1-RM condition than the stable 50% 1-RM condition. Healthy individuals might consider performing the military press, curl, squat and deadlift movements with higher intensity resistances while standing on stable ground to incur higher widespread muscle activity of the core region.