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Muscle Activation of Different Core Exercises

Oliver, Gretchen D; Dwelly, Priscilla M; Sarantis, Nicholas D; Helmer, Rachael A; Bonacci, Jeffery A

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: November 2010 - Volume 24 - Issue 11 - p 3069-3074
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181d321da
Original Research

Oliver, GD, Dwelly, PM, Sarantis, ND, Helmer, RA, and Bonacci, JA. Muscle activation of different core exercises. J Strength Cond Res 24(11): 3069-3074, 2010-Sport health care professionals are always trying to increase muscle activation while instructing exercises that are functional to the sport performance. However, the traditional core exercises are the ones typically performed. This study examined the muscle activation of the lumbopelvic hip complex during traditional core stability exercises and that of the sports performance movements using the CORE X. Fourteen healthy, college-age men (mean age 20.8 ± 3.9 years; mean height, 177.8 ± 10.9 cm; mean weight, 67.3 ± 9.9 kg) participated. Electromyographic (EMG) data were collected on the following muscles: dominant gluteus maximus, dominant gluteus medius, rectus abdomonis (bilateral), external oblique (bilateral), and multifidis (bilateral). Results revealed a significant difference between the 2 different exercise programs for all muscles investigated except the external obliques (p < 0.05). The movements using the CORE X showed increased mean muscle activation for the dominant (57.8% maximum voluntary isometric contraction [MVIC]) and nondominant multifidus (56.4% MVIC) and the dominant gluteus maximus (48.3% MVIC) and medius (65.3% MVIC), whereas the traditional core exercises showed greater mean muscle activation for the dominant (45.1% MVIC) and nondominant rectus abdominis (47.4% MVIC) and external oblique (45.8% MVIC and 47.8% MVIC). The investigators were able to determine that while performing movements that mimicked more sports-related activities with the CORE X, there is a greater activation of the core musculature. Coaches, trainers, and athletic trainers should focus on training a core neutral while performing sports-specific movements that can be done with the CORE X.

Department of Health, Kinesiology, Recreation, and Dance, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Address correspondence to Dr. Gretchen D. Oliver,

© 2010 National Strength and Conditioning Association