This research study examined the bilateral asymmetry found in muscle pairs including the right and left sides of the upper rectus abdominis, lower rectus abdominis, external oblique, and internal oblique in college-aged, apparently fit men and women. Bilateral symmetry was found using surface electromyography (EMG) during three core exercises: 1) ab-slides using paper plates (paper), 2) planks, and 3) ab-slides using a commercial AbSlide® roller device by comparing maximal voluntary contractions (MVCs) of the four muscles previously listed. This research analyzed the percentage of muscle activation during these exercises to each person’s MVC using Noraxon® software. Analysis found that asymmetry for each muscle group was present although there is no measure of clinical significance for symmetry scores of the core muscles yet.
Asymmetry scores were calculated for all three exercises. The exercise that produced the greatest absolute, average asymmetry score was the ab-slide using the roller device. The muscle that the greatest absolute asymmetry was found was the internal oblique. This means that during the three exercises and MVC, the greatest difference between right and left side pair muscles was observed in the internal obliques. The standard deviation of symmetry scores for all exercises and muscles was great as there was much variation in the skill levels in the participants of this study. Bilateral asymmetry was found by visually comparing the asymmetry scores. In conclusion, bilateral asymmetry was found in the core muscles of college-aged individuals during bilateral abdominal exercises.