The effect of motor control training on abdominal muscle contraction during simulated weight bearing in elite cricketers

Julie A Hides, Timothy Endicott, M Dilani Mendis, Warren R Stanton
Physical Therapy in Sport 2016, 20: 26-31

OBJECTIVES: To investigate whether motor control training alters automatic contraction of abdominal muscles in elite cricketers with low back pain (LBP) during performance of a simulated unilateral weight-bearing task.

DESIGN: Clinical trial.

METHODS: 26 male elite-cricketers attended a 13-week cricket training camp. Prior to the camp, participants were allocated to a LBP or asymptomatic group. Real-time ultrasound imaging was used to assess automatic abdominal muscle response to axial loading. During the camp, the LBP group performed a staged motor control training program. Following the camp, the automatic response of the abdominal muscles was re-assessed.

RESULTS: At pre-camp assessment, when participants were axially loaded with 25% of their own bodyweight, the LBP group showed a 15.5% thicker internal oblique (IO) muscle compared to the asymptomatic group (p = 0.009). The post-camp assessment showed that participants in the LBP group demonstrated less contraction of the IO muscle in response to axial loading compared with the asymptomatic group. A trend was found in the automatic recruitment pattern of the transversus abdominis (p = 0.08).

CONCLUSIONS: Motor control training normalized excessive contraction of abdominal muscles in response to a low load task. This may be a useful strategy for rehabilitation of cricketers with LBP.

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