Phasic-to-tonic shift in trunk muscle activity relative to walking during low-impact weight bearing exercise

Nick Caplan, Karl Gibbon, Angela Hibbs, Simon Evetts, Dorothée Debuse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of an exercise device, designed to improve the function of lumbopelvic muscles via low-impact weight-bearing exercise, on electromyographic (EMG) activity of lumbopelvic, including abdominal muscles. Surface EMG activity was collected from lumbar multifidus (LM), erector spinae (ES), internal oblique (IO), external oblique (EO) and rectus abdominis (RA) during overground walking (OW) and exercise device (EX) conditions. During walking, most muscles showed peaks in activity which were not seen during EX. Spinal extensors (LM, ES) were more active in EX. Internal oblique and RA were less active in EX. In EX, LM and ES were active for longer than during OW. Conversely, EO and RA were active for a shorter duration in EX than OW. The exercise device showed a phasic-to-tonic shift in activation of both local and global lumbopelvic muscles and promoted increased activation of spinal extensors in relation to walking. These features could make the exercise device a useful rehabilitative tool for populations with lumbopelvic muscle atrophy and dysfunction, including those recovering from deconditioning due to long-term bed rest and microgravity in astronauts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)388-395
JournalActa Astronautica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2014


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