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Med Sci Sports Exerc, 2017; 49(2): 238-246, PMID: 27685010

Exercise and Transversus Abdominis Muscle Atrophy after 60 d Bed Rest.

Year: 2017

Belavy DL, Gast U, Felsenberg D
Charite Universitatsmedizin Berlin, Center for Muscle and Bone Research, Berlin, Germany 2Deakin University, Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Burwood, Victoria, Australia.


PURPOSE: To investigate atrophy in the deep abdominal muscles, spinal extensors and the impact of high-load resistive exercise with and without whole body vibration following 60d of strict bed-rest. METHODS: 24 subjects underwent 60-days of head-down tilt bed-rest and performed either resistive vibration exercise (RVE), resistive exercise only (RE) or no exercise control (2nd Berlin BedRest Study). The thickness of the transversus abdominis, internal oblique and erector spinae muscles and area of the multifidus muscle were measured bilaterally via real-time ultrasound. "Intent to treat" analysis was implemented and p-values were adjusted by the false discovery rate method. RESULTS: At end-bed-rest, transversus abdominis thickness was reduced by 18.3% in the inactive group (p=0.00011) with no significant change in the RVE (-4.0%; p=0.014 versus control) or RE (-5.0%; p=0.10 versus control) groups. In the inactive subjects, internal oblique thickness reduced by 10.6% (p=0.0025) and by 7% (p>0.05) in each of the training groups. Lengthening of the lumbar spine was greatest on day 1 (+7.4%, p=0.004) and 2 (+6.3%, p=0.004; day 54: +4.1%, p=0.023). Extensor atrophy and spinal lengthening was not impacted by exercise. No significant difference was seen between RVE and RE. CONCLUSION: Bed-rest leads to atrophy of the transversus abdominis and internal oblique muscles. The exercise program, which implemented lower-limb and back extension exercises against shoulder restraints, was able to reduce atrophy seen in transversus abdominis in bed-rest.

GID: 4237; Last update: 11.10.2016