Effects of pelvic stabilization on lumbar muscle activity during dynamic exercise.

San Juan JGYaggie JALevy SSMooney VUdermann BEMayer JM.
Department of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, San Diego State University, San Diego, California, USA. bsanjuan@uoregon.edu

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Many commonly utilized low-back exercise devices offer mechanisms to stabilize the pelvis and to isolate the lumbar spine, but the value of these mechanisms remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of pelvic stabilization on the activity of the lumbar and hip extensor muscles during dynamic back extension exercise. Fifteen volunteers in good general health performed dynamic extension exercise in a seated upright position on a lumbar extension machine with and without pelvic stabilization. During exercise, surface electromyographic activity of the lumbar multifidus and biceps femoris was recorded. The activity of the multifidus was 51% greater during the stabilized condition, whereas there was no difference in the activity of the biceps femoris between conditions. This study demonstrates that pelvic stabilization enhances lumbar muscle recruitment during dynamic exercise on machines. Exercise specialists can use these data when designing exercise programs to develop low back strength.