Comparing lumbopelvic stabilization exercises and yoga on functional stability and low back pain in young, non-elite, female gymnasts

Authors: Hecimovich M., Pomije M., Harbaugh A.

Published online: 22 July 2017

Background: It is beneficial for gymnasts to train key lumbopelvic musculature to decrease or prevent low back injury. This study compares lumbopelvic exercises and yoga on lumbar muscle endurance, lumbopelvic stabilization, abdominal strength and balance in adolescent female gymnasts and the effect on low back pain.

Material/Methods: 13 participants were randomly allocated to a lumbo-pelvic or yoga group intervention and performed specific exercises for 6 weeks. Biering-Sorensen Test, Lumbopelvic Control Test, Side Bridge Test, and Star Excursion Balance Test were conducted on the participants before and after the 6-week intervention and low back pain logbooks were completed.

Results: The Biering-Sorensen Test was significantly greater results for the lumbopelvic group compared to the yoga group. Both groups had significant changes over time with the Lumbopelvic Control Test but no group difference. Both groups had significant improvement with the Side Bridge with the yoga group benefitting more on the left. Out of the six fully completed logbooks, the yoga group showed less occurrence of low back pain compared to the lumbopelvic group.

Conclusions: Yoga and lumbopelvic stabilization exercises are equally effective in developing lumbar muscle endurance, lateral stability and front-on stability for young non-elite gymnasts. This is important as they are under-represented in research but overrepresented in participation. This study sets the basis for further research on the incidence of low back pain in young gymnasts and the effects of age-appropriate exercises as a preventative matter.