Objective: The purpose of this study was to describe ultrasound (US) changes in muscle thickness produced during automatic activation of the transversus abdominis (TrAb), internal oblique (IO), external oblique (EO), and rectus abdominis (RA), as well as the cross-sectional area (CSA) of the lumbar multifidus (LM), after 1 year of Pilates practice.
Methods: A 1-year follow-up case series study with a convenience sample of 17 participants was performed. Indeed, TrAb, IO, EO, and RA thickness, as well as LM CSA changes during automatic tests were measured by US scanning before and after 1 year of Pilates practice twice per week. Furthermore, quality of life changes using the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey and US measurement comparisons of participants who practiced exercises other than Pilates were described.
Results: Statistically significant changes were observed for the RA muscle thickness reduction during the active straight leg raise test (P = .007). Participants who practiced other exercises presented a larger LM CSA and IO thickness, which was statistically significant (P < .05). Statistically significant changes were not observed for the domains of the analyzed 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (P > .05). A direct moderate correlation was observed (r = 0.562, P = .019) between the TrAb thickness before and after a 1-year follow-up.
Conclusions: Long-term Pilates practice may reduce the RA thickness automatic activation during active straight leg raise. Furthermore, LM CSA and IO thickness increases were observed in participants who practice other exercise types in conjunction with Pilates. Despite a moderate positive correlation observed for TrAb thickness, the quality of life did not seem to be modified after long-term Pilates practice.
Author keywords: Abdominal Muscles, Exercise Movement Techniques, Paraspinal Muscles, Ultrasonography
Author affiliations: PG-A, AS-I: CARMASALUD Clinical and Research Center, Madrid, Spain; CC-L: Nursing and Physical Therapy Department, Institute of Biomedicine (IBIOMED), Universidad de León, Ponferrada, León, Spain; AG-M: CARMASALUD Clinical and Research Center, Madrid, Spain; Department of Physical Therapy and Podiatry, Faculty of Health, Exercise and Sport, European University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain; PM-C, GP-M: Department of Radiology, Rehabilitation and Physiotherapy, Faculty of Nursing, Physiotherapy and Podiatry, Complutense University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain
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