What is a synergist?

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What is a synergist?

Post by fluoresce » Sat Jan 21, 2017 1:57 pm

According to ExRx, a synergist is:
A muscle that assists another muscle to accomplish a movement.
For example, during the dumbbell curl, the biceps is the target and the brachialis and brachioradialis are synergists.

However, according to the NSCA's book Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning (4th Edition):
A muscle is called a synergist when it assists indirectly in a movement. For example, the muscles that stabilize the scapula act as synergists during upper arm movement. Without these synergists, the muscles that move the upper arm (many of which originate on the scapula) would not be effective in bringing about this movement.
These definitions are obviously different.

Other websites seem to have the same or a similar definition as the NSCA.

Why is the definition on ExRx different?

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Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2013 11:14 am

Re: What is a synergist?

Post by Crow » Sun Jan 22, 2017 2:53 am

Probably a language barrier on my side, but...

... afaik you can differentiate between direct and indirect synergists.

Direct synergists support the agonist in a movement (this is always movement based, like the curl motion you mentioned) by doing a similar movement.

Indirect synergists enable the work/movement of the agonists in a movement because they fix the bones where the insertion point of the agonist sits. In a leg raise (for example) the hips are fixed into a position through the abs (rectus abdominis)... otherwise the contraction would produce an anterior pelvic tilt instead of raising the legs.

... but I don`t know if that is the reason, why EXRX put it like this... Nevertheless you should read the "Side notes" about the "excercise muscular analysis".

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