Effects of abdominal stabilization maneuvers on the control of spine motion and stability against sudden trunk perturbations

J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2007 Oct;17(5):556-67. doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2006.07.004. Epub 2006 Sep 22.


Much discussion exists about which is the most effective technique to improve spine stability. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of abdominal bracing and abdominal hollowing maneuvers to control spine motion and stability against rapid perturbations. Eleven healthy males were posteriorly loaded in different experimental conditions: resting with no knowledge of the perturbation timing; performing each of the stabilization maneuvers at 10%, 15% and 20% of internal oblique maximum voluntary contraction with no knowledge of the perturbation timing; and naturally coactivating the trunk muscles when perturbation timing was known. An EMG biofeedback system was used to control the pattern and intensity of abdominal coactivation. The muscular preactivation of seven trunk muscles (bilaterally registered), the applied force, and the torso muscular and kinematic responses to loading were measured; and the spine stability and compression were modeled. The hollowing maneuver was not effective for reducing the kinematic response to sudden perturbation. On the contrary, the bracing maneuver fostered torso cocontraction, reduced lumbar displacement, and increased trunk stability, but at the cost of increasing spinal compression. When the timing of the perturbation was known, the participants were able to stabilize the trunk while imposing smaller spine compressive loads.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen / physiology*
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Spine / physiology*
  • Thorax / physiology