Low back pain (LBP) is reported by 14% of all runners and is more likely to occur in novice runners (1). Runners with LBP may be experiencing excessive anteroposterior tilt motion of the pelvis in part which places mechanical stress on the spine. This excessive rocking motion may be partly due to quiescent or dysfunctional core muscles that are not stabilizing the pelvis and spine (2). An effective technique to induce activation of deep abdominal muscles is abdominal bracing (AB) (3). Abdominal bracing involves a submaximal isometric contraction of the muscles of the abdominal wall, (3) without visible movement from the spine, ribcage, or pelvis (4). This action causes symmetrical muscle activation (5,6) of transverse abdominis, external oblique, and internal oblique muscles. Abdominal bracing can preferentially activate internal oblique muscles, but also activate the other abdominal muscles and the erector spinae to reduce pelvic rocking and produce a supportive buttress against spine instability (4). The technique can be initiated during rehabilitation for acute flares and during maintenance run training to prevent LBP recurrence (Fig.).
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