Cybex Bravo Functional Trainer Increases Core Activity

Do Functional Training Exercise Equipment Really Increase Core Activity?

Every manufacturer has a version of a functional trainer.  Weather it is the cabinet design or the dual adjustable pulley design that looks like a shrunken cable crossover they all pretty much function the same way with minor differences separating them all.  The rationale behind the functional trainer units is that they help increase the amount of core stabilizing muscles utilized while performing exercises on the workout machines.  With all of the claims, has anyone actually taken a look to see if these claims are for real?  A recent study from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst did just that.  The Department of Kinesiology took a look at the effects of the Progressive Stability Pad of the Cybex Bravo Functional Trainer on abdominal muscle activation and load during a vertical chest press.

Why Use the Cybex Bravo Functional Trainer for the Exercise Test Instead of Another Functional Trainer?

The premise of the test at the University of Massachusetts was to test the effects of free standing vertical chest press, a full supported vertical chest press, and a partially supported vertical chest press on the involvement of the abdominal muscles.  By using the Cybex Bravo Functional Trainer and the Progressive Stability Pad, all three versions of the vertical chest press can be tested on one machine.

Study Parameters

A total of five men and seven women were used in the study.  They performed their ten repetition maximum lifts that was determined before the trial at a 45 beats per minute cadence.  Surface Electromyography (EMG) was used in order to measure the activation of the rectus abdominis and the external oblique.  The foot placement for the Free Standing press was with the feet staggers at two thirds the participant’s height.  For the Full Stability press, the stability pad was placed at the scapula (shoulder blades).  Finally, for the Partial Stability press the stability pad was placed at the sacrum (tail bone).

Trial Results

After the completion of the test, an average of all the users was used for the three different positions.  The data showed that the activation of the core muscles (rectus abdominis and external obliques) was almost identical in the Free Standing and Full Stability presses with the Partial Stability press showing 184% more core muscle activity over the Free Standing  and Full Stability presses.  The authors conclude that due to the free nature of the Free Standing press, the body can be leaned forward while pressing back.  This combination would create a situation in which there isn’t torque being applied to the spine, thus not requiring activation of the core muscles for stabilization.

In conclusion, not all functional trainers are created equally.  By having the ability to adjust the amount of stability by adjusting the placement of the Progressive Stability Pad on the Cybex Bravo Functional Trainer allows the user to truly incorporate more stabilizing muscles than that of it’s counter parts.  At the time of this writing, Cybex is the only known manufacturer to have the Progressive Stability Pad.

If you have enjoyed this article, please check out the following:

Cybex FT325 Functional Trainer

Cybex Fitness Equipment is known for it’s Manufacturing Excellence

Cybex International’s Company Heritage

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  1. FitnessExpert says:

    We are glad that you liked the information on the Bravo Functional Trainer from Cybex. It is a very unique piece of equipment. Please let us know if there are any other topics pertaining to fitness equipment that you would like to see us write on. Thanks again.

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