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Keywords:

  • hypopressive;
  • pelvic floor muscle;
  • transverse abdominal

Abstract

Aims

The abdominal hypopressive technique (AHT) is performed mainly via transversus abdominis (TrA) activation and has been indicated for pelvic floor muscle (PFM) disorders. In some European countries, this technique has become widely used. This study aimed to investigate PFM and TrA activation during the AHT through surface electromyography.

Methods

Thirty-four nulliparous physical therapists in good general health were asked to participate in the trial. To ascertain a correct PFM contraction, each of the participants was assessed by inspection and digital palpation. Ability to contract the TrA was assessed by surface electromyography and AHT training was given before analysis. TrA and PFM activity was recorded using surface electromyography.

Results

The mean age of the volunteers was 28.1 (±6.0) years and the mean body mass index was 23.7 (±3.3) kg/m2. More than half of the volunteers were physically active (61.3%) and regularly performed PFM training (52.9%) but not TrA exercises (58.8%). Although the AHT activates the PFM when compared to resting tone (P < 0.001), this method is significantly less effective than PFM alone (P < 0.001). Additionally, the combination of the two techniques (AHT + PFM) was similarly effective as isolated PFM contraction (P = 0.586). Although the AHT activated the TrA significantly more than did PFM alone (P = 0.002), the addition of PFM contraction to the AHT significantly increased the amount of TrA activation (P < 0.001).

Conclusions

Based on our results, the AHT is less effective than PFM contraction alone, and adding PFM contraction to AHT also improves the TrA contraction. Neurourol. Urodynam. Neurourol. Urodynam. 30: 1518–1521, 2011. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.