An electromyographic analysis of lateral raise variations and frontal raise in competitive bodybuilders

Giuseppe Coratella, Gianpaolo Tornatore, Stefano Longo, Fabio Esposito, Emiliano Cè

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study examined the muscle activation in lateral raise with humerus rotated externally (LR-external), neutrally (LR-neutral), internally (LR-internal), with flexed elbow (LR-flexed) and frontal raise during both the concentric and eccentric phase. Ten competitive bodybuilders performed the exercises. Normalized surface electromyographic root mean square (sEMG RMS) was obtained from anterior, medial, and posterior deltoid, pectoralis major, upper trapezius, and triceps brachii. During the concentric phase, anterior deltoid and posterior deltoid showed greater sEMG RMS in frontal raise (effect size (ES)-range: 1.78/9.25)) and LR-internal (ES-range: 10.79/21.34), respectively, vs. all other exercises. Medial deltoid showed greater sEMG RMS in LR-neutral than LR-external (ES: 1.47 (95% confidence-interval—CI: 0.43/2.38)), frontal raise (ES: 10.28(95% CI: 6.67/13.01)), and LR-flexed (ES: 6.41(95% CI: 4.04/8.23)). Pectoralis major showed greater sEMG RMS in frontal raise vs. all other exercises (ES-range: 17.2/29.5), while upper trapezius (ES-range: 2.66/7.18) and triceps brachii (ES-range: 0.41/3.31) showed greater sEMG RMS in LR-internal vs. all other exercises. Similar recruitment patterns were found during the eccentric phase. When humerus rotates internally, greater activation of posterior deltoid, triceps brachii, and upper trapezius occurs. Humerus external rotation increases the activation of anterior and medial deltoid. Frontal raise mainly activates anterior deltoid and pectoralis major. LR variations and frontal raise activate specifically shoulders muscles and should be proposed accordingly.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6015
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2020


  • Deltoid
  • EMG
  • Muscle
  • Pectoralis major
  • Resistance training
  • Strength exercise
  • Triceps brachii
  • Upper trapezius

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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