The Effects of Abdominal Hollowing and Bracing Maneuvers on Trunk Muscle Activity and Pelvic Rotation Angle during Leg Pull Front Pilates Exercise

Healthcare (Basel). 2022 Dec 26;11(1):60. doi: 10.3390/healthcare11010060.


Pilates methods use mats for trunk muscles stabilization exercises, and leg pull front (LPF) is one of the traditional Pilates mat exercises. Abdominal hollowing (AH) and Abdominal bracing (AB) maneuvers are recommended to stabilize the trunk muscles and prevent unwanted pelvic movement during motion. This study aimed to explore the effects of AH and AB on electromyography (EMG) activity of the trunk muscles and angle of pelvic rotation during LPF. A total of 20 healthy volunteers participated in the study. AH, AB, and without any condition (WC) were randomly performed during LPF exercise. Each was repeated three times for 5 s. The trunk muscle activities were measured using EMG and rotation of pelvis was measured using a Smart KEMA device. The activities of the transversus abdominis/obliquus internus abdominis (TrA/IO) and right obliquus externus abdominis (EO) muscles were highest in LPF-AH compared to the other conditions. Multifidus (MF) activity was significantly greater in LPF-AH and LPF-AB compared to that of without any condition. The pelvic rotation angle was significantly smaller in LPF-AB. Therefore, AH maneuver during LPF for trunk muscle stabilization exercises is suitable for selective activation of the TrA/IO, and AB maneuver during LPF is recommended for the prevention of unwanted pelvic rotation.

Keywords: Pilates exercises; abdominal bracing; abdominal hollowing; muscle activity; pelvic rotation angle; trunk muscles.

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.