Evaluating abdominal core muscle fatigue: Assessment of the validity and reliability of the prone bridging test

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2018 Feb;28(2):391-399. doi: 10.1111/sms.12919. Epub 2017 Jun 28.


The aims of this study were to research the amplitude and median frequency characteristics of selected abdominal, back, and hip muscles of healthy subjects during a prone bridging endurance test, based on surface electromyography (sEMG), (a) to determine if the prone bridging test is a valid field test to measure abdominal muscle fatigue, and (b) to evaluate if the current method of administrating the prone bridging test is reliable. Thirty healthy subjects participated in this experiment. The sEMG activity of seven abdominal, back, and hip muscles was bilaterally measured. Normalized median frequencies were computed from the EMG power spectra. The prone bridging tests were repeated on separate days to evaluate inter and intratester reliability. Significant differences in normalized median frequency slope (NMFslope ) values between several abdominal, back, and hip muscles could be demonstrated. Moderate-to-high correlation coefficients were shown between NMFslope values and endurance time. Multiple backward linear regression revealed that the test endurance time could only be significantly predicted by the NMFslope of the rectus abdominis. Statistical analysis showed excellent reliability (ICC=0.87-0.89). The findings of this study support the validity and reliability of the prone bridging test for evaluating abdominal muscle fatigue.

Keywords: core stability; field test; injury prevention; muscle endurance; planking; screening.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Muscles / physiology*
  • Adult
  • Back Muscles / physiology
  • Electromyography
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Hip / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Fatigue*
  • Prone Position*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Young Adult