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Postural activity of the abdominal muscles varies between regions of these muscles and between body positions

journal contribution
posted on 2005-12-01, 00:00 authored by D M Urquhart, P W Hodges, Ian Story
The abdominal muscles have an important role in control and movement of the lumbar spine and pelvis. Given there is new evidence of morphological and functional differences between distinct anatomical regions of the abdominal muscles, this study investigated whether there are regional differences in postural activity of these muscles and whether recruitment varies between different body positions. Eleven subjects with no history of low back pain that affected function or for which they sought treatment participated in the study. Electromyographic (EMG) activity of the upper, middle and lower regions of transversus abdominis (TrA), the middle and lower regions of obliquus internus abdominis (OI) and the middle region of obliquus externus abdominis (OE) was recorded using intramuscular electrodes. All subjects performed rapid, unilateral shoulder flexion in standing and six subjects also moved their upper limb in sitting. There were regional differences in the postural responses of TrA with limb movement. Notably, the onset of EMG of the upper region was later than that of the lower and middle regions. There were no differences in the EMG onsets of lower and middle TrA or OI. The postural responses of the abdominal muscles were also found to differ between body positions, with recruitment delayed in sitting compared to standing. This study showed that there is regional differentiation in TrA activity with challenges to postural control and that body position influences the postural responses of the abdominal muscles. These results may reflect variation in the contribution of abdominal muscle regions to stability of the trunk.



Gait & posture






295 - 301




Amsterdam, The Netherlands





Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2004, Elsevier