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Context: Side bridge exercises strengthen the hip, trunk, and abdominal muscles and challenge the trunk muscles without the high lumbar compression associated with trunk extension or curls. Previous research using electromyography (EMG) reports that performance of the side bridge exercise highly activates the gluteus medius (Gmed). However, to the best of our knowledge, no previous research has investigated EMG amplitude in the hip and trunk muscles during side bridge exercise in subjects with Gmed weakness. Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the EMG activity of the hip and trunk muscles during 3 variations of the side bridge exercise (side bridge, side bridge with knee flexion, and side bridge with knee flexion and hip abduction of the top leg) in subjects with Gmed weakness. Design: Repeated-measures experimental design. Setting: Research laboratory. Patients: Thirty subjects (15 females and 15 males) with Gmed weakness participated in this study. Intervention: Each subject performed 3 variations of the side bridge exercise in random order. Main Outcome Measures: Surface EMG was used to measure the muscle activities of the rectus abdominis, external oblique, longissimus thoracis, multifidus, Gmed, gluteus maximus, and tensor fasciae latae (TFL), and Gmed/TFL muscle activity ratio during 3 variations of the side bridge exercise. Results: There were significant differences in Gmed (F2,56 = 110.054, P < .001), gluteus maximus (F2,56 = 36.416, P < .001), and TFL (F2,56 = 108.342, P < .001) muscles among the 3 side bridge exercises. There were significant differences in the Gmed/TFL muscle ratio (F2,56 = 20.738, P < .001). Conclusion: Among 3 side bridge exercises, the side bridge with knee flexion may be effective for the individuals with Gmed weakness among 3 side bridge exercises to strengthen the gluteal muscles, considering the difficulty of the exercise and relative contribution of Gmed and TFL.
Lee and Baik are with the Department of Physical Therapy, The Graduate School, Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea. Yi, Kwon, and Cynn are with the Department of Physical Therapy, College of Health Science, Yonsei University, Wonju, Gangwon, South Korea.