Muscle activation during Pilates exercises in participants with chronic non-specific low back pain – a cross-sectional case control study.

The objective of this study was to determine the amplitude of the electromyographic activity of trunk muscles during Pilates exercises in women with and without chronic low back pain (LBP) through a case control study involving 60 women. Amplitude of the electromyographic activity (root mean square values) of the gluteus maximus and external oblique muscles collected during three Pilates exercises: Shoulder bridge performed in the mat, and Hip roll and Breathing performed in equipment. Pain intensity was assessed in the LBPG. The amplitude of the electromyographic activity was similar between groups (p ≥ 0.05). For both groups, the amplitude of the gluteus maximus was higher in the Shoulder Bridge exercise compared to the Hip Roll with 2 springs (CG: mean difference (MD) = 0.18, 95% Confidence interval (CI) = 0.05 to 0.41; LBPG: MD = 0.29, 95% CI = 0.16 to 0.31) and the Breathing exercise (CG: MD = -0.40, 95% CI = -0.55 to -0.26; LBPG: MD = -0.36, 95% CI = -0.52 to -0.20). The amplitude of the external oblique muscle was higher in the Shoulder Bridge compared to the Hip Roll with 2 springs (CG: MD = 0.13, 95% CI = 0.05 to 0.21; LBPG: MD = 0.18, 95% CI = 0.03 to 0.33). Pain intensity increased after exercises, but this increase was lower for the mat exercises.

Similar muscle activation between groups was found. The findings suggest that mat exercises caused less pain and greater difference in the amplitude of muscle activation compared to the equipment-based exercises.

Sensorimotor Impairment in Neck Pain

Join Chris Worsfold in this short online course to learn about the evaluation and rehabilitation of sensorimotor impairment in patients with neck pain.


Paul Goss
Paul Goss
October 28, 2016 at 10:51 am

Apologies however I am struggling from this part of the research paper, I have not read the whole article, to understand what the point was? If you chose non specific by its nature if you fail to try and classify it then your results will be random by nature as what might help one group will hinder another.
The conclusion of mat is better than reformer for this on three exercises would therefore be of little clinical relevance to Pilates instructors.
We already know strength of activation alone may not be the best retraining strategy for all non specific low back pain.

Speak your mind

Your email will not be published.