The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Changes in the normal characteristic pattern of abdominal muscle thickness in rowers with low back pain

Rankin, G., Stokes, M. and Newham, D. (2002) Changes in the normal characteristic pattern of abdominal muscle thickness in rowers with low back pain Clinical Rehabilitation, 16, (1), pp. 112-113.

Record type: Article


Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability, London and Applied Biomedical Research Group, GKT School of Biomedical Sciences, King’s College London Background: The relationship between the size and therefore force-generating capacity of individual abdominal muscles is unknown and may be influenced by various factors. The aim of this study was to investigate the normal relative contribution of individual muscles to total abdominal muscle thickness, and to examine the association with training and low back pain (LBP). Method: Three groups of male subjects (age range 18–30 years) were studied: elite rowers with (n = 10) or without (n = 20) current or previous LBP and age-matched controls (n = 18). Real-time ultrasound imaging was used to measure the external oblique (EO), internal oblique(IO), transversus abdominis (TA) and rectus abdominis (RA) bilaterally. The relative thickness of each muscle was expressed as a percentage of total abdominal muscle thickness. Results: The controls and rowers without LBP showed the same pattern of order of relative thickness. As a group the rowers with LBP were not signifiŽcantly different from the other two groups. However, as each rower with LBP showed a different pattern and considerable individual variation, analysis of group means was therefore inappropriate. Fisher’s Exact Test classifi Žed the rowers with LBP as showing signiŽfi cantly abnormal patterns (p < 0.05). An example of a rower with LBP is shown in Figure 1. Discussion: A characteristic pattern of relative abdominal muscle thickness was found in controls and rowers without LBP. In rowers with LBP the pattern was altered; this could be a cause or effect of LBP. Conclusions: Ultrasound imaging can be used to aid assessment of abdominal muscle involvement in LBP. Specific abnormalities could be addressed by individual exercise programmes, the effects of which need to be evaluated to provide evidence for rehabilitation.

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Published date: 2002
Keywords: ultrasound imaging, abdominal muscles, rowers, low back pain


Local EPrints ID: 58604
ISSN: 0269-2155
PURE UUID: 88b04e94-f2f3-44fe-a56d-488364d6a322
ORCID for M. Stokes: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 15 Aug 2008
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 14:26

Export record

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.