PURPOSE: Selective strengthening of the transverse abdominis muscle (TrA) during abdominal hollowing makes an important contribution to the stability and control of the spine. This study examined the effects of abdominal hollowing exercise (AHE) according to the visual feedback method on the external oblique, internal oblique, and transverse abdominis muscles.
METHODS: Twenty healthy subjects were assigned randomly to an AHE with visual feedback from real-time ultrasound image (group A, n = 10), AHE with visual feedback with pressure biofeedback unit (group B, n = 10).
Both groups underwent 20 min of AHE with visual feedback once daily, five days/week for two weeks. The changes in the muscle thickness of the TrA, internal oblique abdominal muscle (IO), and external oblique abdominal muscle (EO) were measured by ultrasonography.
RESULTS: The thickness of TrA was changed significantly in both groups (p < .05). However, the lowest minimal detectable changes were achieved in Group A. The thickness of the IO and EO muscles in group A was changed significantly, but there were no significant changes in group B.
CONCLUSION: Both visual feedback methods were effective for strengthening the TrA muscles selectively.
Nevertheless, AHE with visual feedback using real-time ultrasound images may be more useful in trA muscle contraction.