European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 113, Issue 4, pp 997–1004 | Cite as

Intensive unilateral neuromuscular training on non-dominant side of low back improves balanced muscle response and spinal stability

Original Article


Effective stabilization is important to increase sports performance. Imbalanced spinal muscle responses between the left and right sides increase the risk of spinal buckling and microtrauma at the intervertebral joints. The purpose of this study was to confirm whether intensive unilateral neuromuscular training (IUNT) focusing on the non-dominant side of the low back improves balanced muscle responses and spinal stability. The IUNT group (n = 8) performed side bridge and quadruped exercises using their non-dominant trunk muscles for 8 weeks, while the control group (n = 8) performed their regular training. Before and after the training, motion-capture cameras measured trunk angular displacement, and electromyography recorded the activities of both multifidus muscles (L4–5) during unexpected sudden forward perturbation. After the training in the IUNT group, the difference in onset time between both sides decreased to approximately 120 % compared with that before the training. The asymmetry of muscle activities also decreased from 56 to 23 %. Moreover, the angular displacement on the sagittal plane decreased to approximately 35 % after the training. We expect that IUNT focused on the non-dominant side of the low back will be useful to improve balanced back muscle responses and spinal stability during sudden trunk perturbation.


Electromyography Lumbar region Skeletal muscle Motion Exercise movement techniques 





Intensive unilateral neuromuscular training



The authors thank all individuals who kindly participated in the training. The authors also thank Mr. Hyo Young Pyeon for practical assistance during the training period. This study was supported by a Korea University grant.

Conflict of interest

There are no conflicts of interest to declare.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physical Therapy, College of Health SciencesKorea UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea

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