The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of posture on the expiratory activity of the abdominal muscles. Fifteen young adult men participated in the study. Activities of the external oblique abdominis, internal oblique abdominis, and rectus abdominis muscles were measured electromyographically in various postures. We used a pressure threshold in order to activate the abdominal muscles as these muscles are silent at rest. A spirometer was used to measure the lung volume in various postures. Subjects were placed in the supine, standing, sitting, and sitting-with-elbow-on-the-knee (SEK) positions. Electromyographic activity and mouth pressure were measured during spontaneous breathing and maximal voluntary ventilation under the respiratory load. We observed that the lung volume changed with posture; however, the breathing pattern under respiratory load did not change. During maximal voluntary ventilation, internal oblique abdominis muscle expiratory activity was lower in the SEK position than in any other position, external oblique abdominis muscle inspiratory activity was lower in the supine position than in any other position, and internal oblique abdominis muscle activity was higher in the standing position than in any other position. During spontaneous breathing, external oblique abdominis muscle activity was higher during expiration and inspiration in the SEK position than in any other position. The internal oblique abdominis muscle activity was higher during both inspiration and expiration in the standing position than in any other position. The rectus abdominis muscle activity did not change with changes in posture during both inspiration and expiration. Increase in the external oblique abdominis activity in the SEK position was due to anatomical muscle arrangement that was consistent with the direction of lower rib movement. On the other hand, increase in the internal oblique abdominis activity in the standing position was due to stretching of the abdominal wall by the viscera. We concluded that differences in activity were due to differences in the anatomy of the abdominal muscles and the influence of gravity.
2005 Japan Society of Physiological Anthropology