Comparison of trunk muscle activity between exercises performed on a gym ball and on a plinth

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Comparison of trunk muscle activity between exercises performed on a gym ball and on a plinth


Author: Leung, Yau-man Calson.
Title: Comparison of trunk muscle activity between exercises performed on a gym ball and on a plinth
Degree: M.Sc.
Year: 2006
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Neuromuscular diseases -- Diagnosis
Backache -- Exercise therapy
Department: Dept. of Rehabilitation Sciences
Pages: ix, 60 leaves : col. ill. ; 30 cm.
InnoPac Record:
Abstract: Core stability training is very important for the prevention and management of low back pain. The use of labile surface like gym ball is becoming more popular for strengthening the trunk musculatures and stimulating the neuromuscular system during core stability exercise. Recent researches only investigate the muscle activities during abdominal trainings on gym ball. However little evidence is known about the activity of trunk muscles during core stability exercises on and off the labile surface. The purpose of this study was to compare the electromyographic (EMG) activity of the abdominal and back musculature during four core stability exercises on and off the gym ball. Twenty-one healthy male subjects (25.1±2.6 years old) without any history of low back pain volunteered to participate in this study. They were instructed to perform push-up with feet on supporting surface, push-up with hands on supporting surface, side-bridge and trunk extension on a gym ball and on a plinth in a randomised order. Electromyographic activity of rectus abdominis, external oblique, internal oblique and multifidus were monitored. Action potentials were recorded and analysed from the four trunk muscles during a 5-second isometric contraction, and all data was normalised to maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVC). Paired t-tests and Bonferroni's correction were performed on percentage of maximal voluntary contraction of each muscle group during a single exercise on and off the gym ball.
There were significant increases in muscle activation of the rectus abdominis (p<0.001), the external oblique (p<0.001) and the internal oblique (p<0.001) during the push-up exercise with hands on gym ball. Interestingly, there was also a significant increase in muscle activity of the external oblique during side-bridge on gym ball (p<0.001) and increased multifidus activity during the side-bridge on stable supporting surface (p<0.00l). The addition of gym ball did not influence trunk muscle activity during push-up with feet on ball and trunk extension on ball. The findings from the present study suggested that push-up with hands on gym ball would be effective for strengthening the abdominal muscles, while side-bridge exercise on plinth would be an appropriate endurance training for the erector spinae muscle. Further research on the efficacy of core stability training on labile surface, especially the long-term effect after a period of training is essential.

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