Increased Joint Mobility Is Associated With Impaired Transversus Abdominis Contraction

Ulrike H. Mitchell, Patrick J. Owen, Timo Rantalainen, Daniel L. Belavý

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Mitchell, UH, Owen, PJ, Rantalainen, T, and Belavý, DL. Increased joint mobility is associated with impaired transversus abdominis contraction. J Strength Cond Res 36(9): 2472-2478, 2022-Increased joint mobility is a risk factor for joint injury, but muscle function may be able to compensate for it. Current evidence suggests reduced force production capacity in people with hypermobility. However, little is known about the lumbar spine. The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to assess whether there was a link between joint mobility and transverse abdominis and multifidus muscles contraction, muscles ascribed a core-stability role. Using a modified quantitative version of the Beighton scale (BOM score), we measured joint mobility of 30 middle-aged individuals without low back pain. These scores were correlated with magnetic resonance imaging-derived measures of transverse abdominis and multifidus muscle contraction during a spinal loading maneuver. The level of significance was set for p ≤ 0.05. The results showed greater joint mobility (a higher BOM score) correlated (r = 0.468; p = 0.009) with reduced transversus abdominis (TrA) shortening during contraction (i.e., less muscle shortening in people with greater joint mobility). The trunk subdomain score exhibited a correlation of 0.354 with TrA length change, but this did not reach statistical significance (p = 0.055). The subdomains of the BOM score did not correlate significantly with each other (p ≥ 0.097). No association was seen between multifidus contraction and joint mobility. The results suggest that greater general joint mobility is associated with impaired contraction of the TrA muscle. This should be considered when coaching athletes or treating patients with (functional) spinal instability. The quantitative approach we developed to measure joint mobility could be used in the future studies of global flexibility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2472-2478
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Fascia
  • Laxity
  • Muscle
  • Physical therapy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Rehabilitation

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