Trunk and hip muscle activation during yoga poses: Implications for physical therapy practice

Debra Beazley, Shilpa Patel, Brent Davis, Steven Vinson, Lori Bolgla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective To determine and compare activation of core muscles during yoga to traditional back exercises. Methods Surface electromyography was used to quantify activation of the rectus abdominis (RA), abdominal obliques (AO), lumbar extensors (LE), and gluteus maximus (GMX) during four yoga poses. Data were expressed as 100% of a maximum voluntary isometric contraction. Separate analyses of variance with repeated measures were used to compare muscle activity across each exercise. Results Subjects generated greater RA (P < 0.0001) and AO (P < 0.0001) activity during the Plank. They generated greater AO activity (P < 0.0001) during the Upward-Facing Dog than the Chair and Dominant-Side Warrior 1. LE activity was greatest (P < 0.0001) during the Chair. GMX activity was similar (P = 0.09) during all exercises. Conclusion Yoga poses may help improve core endurance and strength. Clinicians may use these data when developing and implementing an evidence-based core exercise program for individuals who prefer a yoga treatment strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-135
Number of pages6
JournalComplementary Therapies in Clinical Practice
StatePublished - Nov 2017


  • Complementary medicine
  • Core stabilization
  • Surface electromyography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Trunk and hip muscle activation during yoga poses: Implications for physical therapy practice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this