The aim of this feasibility study was to contrast rectus abdominis (RA) muscle strength and electrical activity after two abdominal training protocols, conventional kinesiotherapy (CK) and Pilates mat exercises (PME). 13 participants were randomized to one of two groups: CK and PME, and were trained accordingly. The upper rectus abdominis (URA) and lower rectus abdominis (LRA) were independently examined and intra-group and inter-group comparison were done. Findings demonstrate a significant increase in RA strength after both protocols, relative to baseline. Significantly increased electrical activation was seen in the URA after CK. Training with PME, although as efficient as CK in strength improvement, produced decreased activation level of muscles. CK training induced an opposite result. The differences after training suggest that CK and PME training programmers may strength RA, but the neuromuscular activation strategies for that are not the same. PME can be incorporated into protocols to improve abdominals strength, and trunk stabilization.
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