The aim of this study was to compare the magnitude of selective core muscle activation during supine bridging to neutral exercises (three on a stable and three on an unstable surface). Surface EMG analysis was performed on the lumbar multifidus, gluteus medius, gluteus maximus, and hamstrings from 13 male and 13 female subjects. Lumbar multifidus recruitment was not influenced by exercise or condition and ranged between 29.2 and 35.9% of maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC). Peak gluteus medius activation (42.0% MVIC) occurred in unstable single-leg bridge. Maximum recruitment of gluteus maximus (32.6% MVIC) appeared during stable single-leg bridge. Peak hamstring activation (59.6% MVIC) occurred during stable double-leg hamstring curl. Regardless of condition, hamstrings demonstrated high (51.9-59.6% MVIC) muscle recruitment during double-leg hamstring curls compared with the single-leg bridge or double-leg bridge. Various supine bridging to neutral exercises activated the hamstrings at levels conducive to strengthening, whereas recruitment of lumbar multifidus, gluteus medius, and gluteus maximus promoted endurance training. Clinically, we were unable to conclude the unstable support surface was preferable to the stable surface for boosting muscle recruitment of spine stabilizers, gluteals, and hamstring muscles during supine bridge to neutral position.
Keywords: Electromyography; muscle recruitment; supine bridging.