Purpose: This study evaluated the electrical activities of the pelvic floor muscles in response to selected abdominal and hip adductor exercises, using the Kegel's maneuver as a gold standard, to compare the efficacies of these maneuvers in pelvic floor muscles recruitment to guide their informed utilization as adjuncts for Kegel's exercises.
Method: Twenty-one postpartum mothers with recent vaginal deliveries performed six trials, including the typical Kegel's exercise; two abdominal exercises (curl-up and abdominal hollowing); two hip adductor exercises (adductor ball squeeze and auto-resisted hip adduction); and a combination of abdominal, hip adductor and pelvic floor muscle contractions (combo). Pelvic floor muscles activities were monitored via surface electromyography during each 5-s trial. Data were analyzed with descriptive statistics and inferential statistics of one way ANOVA at p < 0.05.
Results: Generally, the pelvic floor muscles were statistically significantly (p < 0.001) most active during the combo trial, compared to other trials. Comparing the two abdominals, Kegel's and combo trials, pelvic floor muscles activity was least during the curl-up contraction (p < 0.001). On the other hand, Kegel's trial elicited the lowestpelvic floor muscles activity when compared with the combo and two adductor trials (p < 0.001).
Conclusion: Abdominal and hip adductor exercises are recommended adjuncts of Kegel's exercise but the combo maneuver was the most effective in activating the pelvic floor muscles.
Keywords: Abdominal exercises; Adjuncts; Electromyography; Hip adductor exercises; Kegel's exercise; Pelvic floor muscles.
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