J. Stephens, E. Bacon, C. Evans, S. Locke, R. McCulloch

Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA

Strengthening the core musculature is essential due to the beneficial effects that highly trained trunk muscles have on strength, sports performance, and functional activities. There is exisiting knowledge on frontal and sagittal plane core stability exercises from previous research. However, it is important to determine if stability exercises, and resisting movement, in the transverse plane recruit the core muscles in a similar fashion. PURPOSE: This methodology study aimed to use quantitative measurements of core muscle activation when completing anti-rotational (AR) and rotational (RO) exercises to determine the more effective method of strengthening the core. METHODS: Four researchers were used as pilot subjects. Surface electromyography (EMG) electrodes were placed on the rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques, and erector spinae. Muscle activation was recorded during trials and normalized to maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) tests. Twelve trials of an AR and RO variation of the Pallof press, a banded core stability exercise were performed with loadings of 7.5%, 10%, and 12.5% of fat free mass. Trials were completed on both right and left sides, where subjects rotated 90° away from a pulley system and then returned, as well resisted rotation for 10 seconds. Results were analyzed with a two-way ANOVA and Bonferroni post hoc test. RESULTS: There were significant differences in muscle activation based on movement type for the participants’ right internal and external oblique, left internal oblique and right erector spinae. Differences were able to be detected for the interaction of weight and movement for the left internal oblique. CONCLUSION: Based on previous knowledge and pilot testing data, we were able to develop a robust method for testing activation of the core musculature working in the transverse plane. This procedure supported the argument that RO abdominal exercises elicit greater recruitement of the deep core musculature compared to AR exercises. This validated procedure has demonstrated the capacity to be expanded to a full study with larger subject pools. Study data would help show that training RO abdominal exercises could be used to benefit athletes, preventing injury, and potentially rehabilitating back injuries.

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