Trunk and hip muscle activation during yoga poses: Do sex-differences exist?

Lori A. Bolgla, Leonard Amodio, Kristen Archer, Jillian Estes, Rachelle Leung, Katherine Magoni, Alyssa Mullikin, Dylan Roberts, Mekenzie Weems, Debra Beazley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: To compare core activation during yoga between males and females. Methods: Surface electromyography was used to quantify rectus abdominis (RA), abdominal obliques (AO), lumbar extensors (LE), and gluteus maximus (GMX) activation during four yoga poses. Data were expressed as 100% of a maximum voluntary isometric contraction. Mixed-model 2 × 2 analyses of variance with repeated measures were used to determine between-sex differences in muscle activity. Results: Females generated greater RA activity than males during the High Plank (P < 0.0001) and Dominant-Side Warrior 1 (P = 0.017). They generated greater AO (P < 0.0001) and GMX (P = 0.004) activity during the High Plank (P < 0.0001). No between-sex EMG activity differences existed for the Chair and Upward Facing Dog. Conclusion: Findings have provided preliminary evidence for between-sex differences in muscle activation during yoga poses. Clinicians should consider such differences when prescribing yoga to improve muscle strength and endurance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)256-261
Number of pages6
JournalComplementary Therapies in Clinical Practice
StatePublished - May 2018


  • Complementary medicine
  • Gender
  • Surface electromyography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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