JBMT Research Article Abstract: June 2019

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Electromyographic evaluation of trunk core muscles during Pilates exercise on different supporting bases

Authors: Ana C. Panhan, Mauro Gonçalves, Giovana D. Eltz, Marina M. Villalba, Adalgiso C. Cardozo, Fausto Bérzin
Published online: April 03, 2019



To evaluate the electromyographic (EMG) activity of the rectus abdominis (RA) and internal oblique (IO) muscles during Pilates exercise on different trunk supporting bases.


Sixteen female Pilates practitioners participated in the study. EMG of the RA and OI muscles was evaluated during the double leg stretch (DLS) exercise on three different supporting bases — mat, long box, and short box. Trunk stability varies according to the size and type of the base. To normalize the data, the RMS value (EMG) obtained during the DLS exercise was divided by the RMS value from the torque test — the maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) — and multiplied by 100 (%MVIC). One-way repeated-measured analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Bonferroni tests were used to compare data concerning the supporting bases and Student t-test regarding the muscles (p < 0.05).


The comparison among the bases involving each muscle — RA or IO (p < 0.05) — showed significant difference (%MVIC) between the mat and the short box. No significant difference was observed between the muscles concerning the exercise on the mat (p = 0.9266), on the long box (p = 0.5113) and on the short box (p = 0.2972).


The short box increased the activity of the rectus abdominis and internal oblique muscles during exercise. The DLS exercise was able to challenge the stability of the trunk and thus recruit its stabilizer and mobilizer muscles at the same intensity.


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