Abdominal and pelvic floor electromyographic analysis during abdominal hypopressive gymnastics

J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2018 Jan;22(1):159-165. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2017.06.011. Epub 2017 Jun 21.


Introduction: Abdominal hypopressive gymnastics appeared as an alternative to traditional abdominal exercises to promote abdominal muscles strength without overloading the pelvic floor muscles (PFM). To determine the activation level of abdominal muscles and PFM and the posture influence in the level of activation in these muscles during abdominal hypopressive gymnastics, we used surface electromyography in young and healthy multipara women.

Methods: This is an observational study with eutrophic nulliparous women aged between 18 and 35 years, with abdominal skinfold less than or equal to 3 cm and active or irregularly active physical activity. Surface electromyography was used for rectus abdominis, external oblique, transversus abdominal/internal oblique (TrA/IO) and PFM assessment in the supine, quadruped and orthostatic (upright standing) positions during abdominal hypopressive gymnastics using normalized electromyographic (%EMG) data. We also analyzed the difference in activation between each muscle and between muscles and positions.

Results: Thirty women were evaluated and the mean age was 25.77 years (SD 3.29). The group formed by the TrA/IO muscles and the PFM showed higher %EMG in all the positions assessed, followed by the external oblique and rectus abdominis muscles. A comparison of %EMG of each muscle between the different positions showed differences only in rectus abdominis between the supine and quadruped (p = 0.001) and supine and orthostatic positions (p = 0.004), and in TrA/IO between the supine and orthostatic (p = 0.023) and orthostatic and quadruped positions (p = 0.019).

Conclusions: The results suggest that abdominal hypopressive gymnastics can activate the abdominal muscles and PFM and the position do not have influence on electromyographic activation level of the PFM and external oblique.

Keywords: Abdominal muscles; Electromyography; Exercise; Pelvic floor; Posture.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Muscles / physiology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Electromyography
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Pelvic Floor / physiology
  • Posture / physiology
  • Rectus Abdominis / physiology