Effects of Physioball and Conventional Floor Exercises on Early Phase Adaptations in Back and Abdominal Core Stability and Balance in Women
The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of 5 weeks of physioball core stability and balance exercises with conventional floor exercises in women. The experimental group (n = 15) performed curl-ups and back extensions on the physioball while the control group (n = 15) performed the same exercises on the floor. Baseline and post-training tests included electromyography (EMG) recordings of the rectus abdominus and erector spinae muscles; abdominal, back, and knee strength measurements with the Cybex Norm System; and 2 unilateral stance balance tests. The physioball group was found to have significantly greater mean change in EMG flexion and extension activity (p = 0.04 and p = 0.01, respectively) and greater balance scores (p < 0.01) than the floor exercise group. No significant changes (p > 0.05) were observed for heart rate or Cybex strength measurements. Early adaptations in a short-term core exercise program using the physioball resulted in greater gains in torso balance and EMG neuronal activity in previously untrained women when compared to performing exercises on the floor.