<bold>Purpose.</bold> The sitting position is generally adopted when measuring the torques produced by flexors and extensors of the trunk. Results of such measurements are influenced by the strength of both abdominal muscles and flexors of the hip joint. In order to assess the effect of exercises used to strengthen the abdominal muscles it was necessary to find such a measuring position which engaged mainly the abdominal muscles. The objective of the study was an assessment of EMG activity of abdominal and spinal muscles during the measurements of muscle torques in the sitting position, as well as in the lying position. <bold>Basic procedures.</bold> Thirteen female students of the University School of Physical Education in Wrocław participated in the study. The methods of measuring muscle torques and surface electromyography (sEMG) were used under static conditions. The torques were measured on a multifunctional chair in the lying and sitting positions. The surface EMG electrodes were placed on the right and left hand sides of m. rectus abdominis (RA) and m. erector spinae (ES). Signals from both muscles were sampled at 1000 Hz. <bold>Main findings.</bold> The maximal torques of trunk flexors in the sitting position and in the lying position were similar: 130.6 ± 31.7 Nm and 129.8 ± 37.9 Nm, respectively. By contrast, the torque of trunk extensors was significantly larger when the measurement was carried out in the sitting position (228.1 ± 76.4 Nm) as compared with the lying position (148.8 ± 25.3 Nm). The ratio of the maximal torques of flexors and extensors of the trunk in the women examined was 0.572 in the sitting position and 0.872 in the lying position. Both RA and ES showed higher EMG activity in the lying position than in the sitting position. <bold>Conclusions.</bold> The higher EMG activity of the RA muscle in the lying position at the same values of the trunk flexors torque in both positions may suggest that in the sitting position flexors of the hip joint are more engaged than abdominal muscles. That is why, in order to assess the effects of abdominal muscles training, measurements of the trunk flexors torque should be performed in the lying position.
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