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To investigate the changes in lumbar kinematic and paraspinal muscle activation before, during, and after a 4-week minimalist running training.


Prospective cohort study.


University research laboratory.


Seventeen habitually shod recreational runners who run 10–50 km per week.

Main outcome measures

During stance phases of running, sagittal lumbar kinematics was recorded using an electrogoniometer, and activities of the lumbar paraspinal muscles were assessed by electromyography. Runners were asked to run at a prescribed speed (3.1 m/s) and a self-selected speed.


For the 3.1 m/s running speed, significant differences were found in the calculated mean lumbar posture (p = 0.001) during the stance phase, including a more extended lumbar posture after minimalist running training. A significant reduction in the contralateral lumbar paraspinal muscle activation was also observed (p = 0.039). For the preferred running speed, similar findings of a more extended lumbar posture (p = 0.002) and a reduction in contralateral lumbar paraspinal muscle activation (p = 0.047) were observed.


A 4-week minimalist running training program produced significant changes in lumbar biomechanics during running. Specifically, runners adopted a more extended lumbar posture and reduced lumbar paraspinal muscle activation. These findings may have clinical implications for treating individuals with running-related lower back pain.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Physical Therapy in Sport. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Physical Therapy in Sport, volume 29, in 2018. DOI: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2016.11.004

The Creative Commons license below applies only to this version of the article.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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