Biomechanical and Electromyographic Comparisons of Isometric Trunk Flexor Endurance Test Postures: Prone Plank Versus V-Sit

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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The objective of this study was to investigate why holding times on 2 different tests of isometric trunk flexor endurance capacity (prone plank and v-sit) are weakly correlated. Body position and ground reaction force data from 10 men and 10 women were used to conduct static biomechanical analyses of both test postures, and bilateral activations of the rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques, latissimus dorsi, and lumbar and thoracic erector spinae were measured in a second sample of 15 men and 15 women while holding the test postures. No between-posture differences in net low back flexor moments were found (P = .111), but the lumbar spine was 28° more flexed in the v-sit than in the plank (P < .001). No between-posture differences were detected in the rectus abdominis (P = .397), external obliques (P = .204), internal obliques (P = .226), or lumbar erector spinae (P = .116) activation levels, but those of the thoracic erector spinae (P = .0253) and latissimus dorsi (P < .001) were greater in the plank than in the v-sit. Altogether, the findings suggest that differences between plank and v-sit holding times are most likely related to between-test differences in lumbar spine postures and shoulder demands.

Lindsay L. Musalem, Tatjana Stankovic, Drazen Glisic, and Tyson A.C. Beach are with the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Gillian E. Cook is with the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Address author correspondence to Tyson Beach at