Muscle Activation and Torso Movement during Exercise using Novel Fiberglass Resistance Poles

Stephen Glass1, *
1 Department of Movement Science, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI, USA

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Creative Commons License
© 2021 Stephen Glass

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at Department of Movement Science, Grand Valley State University, 1 Campus, Dr. Allendale MI 49401, USA; Tel: +1616 331 8563; Fax: +1616 331 8870; E-mail:



A novel form of functional training utilizes flexible fiberglass poles for resistance. Similar to elastic bands, as the poles flex, resistance increases. To date, no studies have examined activation patterns associated with such implements.


This study examined muscle activation and torso rotation using different pole resistance intensities during a “push-pull” rotational core exercise.


Twenty-one subjects (16 women, 5 men; age=20.4±1.3y) completed 6 trials of 10 repetitions each of a standing push and pull movement with 3 different pole tensions (very light, light, moderate). Muscle activation (electromyography) for the anterior and posterior deltoid, abdominal oblique, and paraspinal muscles were recorded. Concentric contractions during the push phase (PUSH) and the pull load (PULL) phases were recoded, and percent maximal voluntary contraction (%MVC) was computed. Markers on the acromion process and a vertically mounted camera were used to record torso rotation during each push and pull. ANOVA for each muscle and PUSH and PULL was used for comparisons across pole intensity.


Significant main effects for torso rotation were seen, with rotation with the very light pole (Push= 61.9 ± 9.20, Pull= 64.8 ± 14.00) significantly greater than moderate (Push= 52.0 ± 12.80, Pull= 54.9 ± 10.10). EMG data were highly variable, with no differences in muscle activation detected across pole resistance loads.


Variability of the EMG data prevent clear resolution of activation patterns. However, torso rotation is limited with heavier pole resistance since increased pole flex also increases resistance.

Keywords: Core stability, Functional training, Instability training, Muscle activation, Electromyography, Fiberglass resistance, Core stix.