"Muscle Training with Postural Resistance", 

W. Van Gunsteren, O. De Richemont, L. Van Wermeskerken
Published by Eburon Academic Publishers, PO Box 2867, 2601 CW Delft,  
The Netherlands, 1st edition, 2004, 283 pages. 
ISBN 90 5166 918 6/ € 35.00.

Movement is important to health. Experience has taught us that various symptoms of overload during movement occur through instability and deviant posture and cause the body to have less load capacity. Stability is of essential importance for gaining and retaining coordination, functional posture and movement patterns in daily mobility. 
Various different training and fitness methods are being developed to support movement, usually based on long-standing methods: Pilates, Chinese kinetics, yoga, body-pumping, kickboxing etc.
A number of basic principles can be found in all the methods mentioned: centralisation, stability, totality, build-up of strength, respiration, control and rhythm.

The book Muscle Training with Postural Resistance describes a method including the basic principles mentioned which is applicable to various groups of patients with stability, posture and movement problems.
The book appeared earlier as a Dutch translation of the original French book: Rééducation Musculaire à base de Réflexes Posturaux 1 . The aforementioned book was the product of joint consultation, discussions and the sharing of experiences by a large group of interested physiotherapists of various nationalities, during a period of about 20 years.

The Bugnet posture resistance therapy 2  method was introduced into the Netherlands during the polio epidemic to treat patients with partial and complete paralysis.
In the practice of physiotherapy the method appeared to have a much wider applicability as a form of therapy. Patients with various neurological disorders, hemiplegia, spina bifida and peripheral nerve damage for example, with orthopaedic disorders such as scoliose, posture deviations of joints, post-operative conditions and with complaints resulting from diminished capabilities of the posture and movement apparatus, appear to benefit from the Bugnet training.

The book was published in 2004 in English by Eburon Academic Publishers, thanks to the efforts of Mrs. L. van Wermeskerken, to give the method more publicity.


The book Muscle Training with Postural Resistance is divided into two parts:

1.     general principles and basic exercises.
2.     exercises for patients with partial/complete paralysis.


The schematic overview in the book of all muscle groups in the human body divided into main functions with reference to the related exercises is especially effective.

The introduction consists of ‘the analysis and guidelines for treatment.’ The specific strength and relevance of the method becomes obvious in this: The posture resistance therapy is based on the ability of the person to maintain a certain body position against external forces. The method appeals to the basic reflexive strengths by means of muscle improving exercises in closed chains.  The muscle function is started within the totality of the neuro-muscular system. The strength of the weakest muscle groups is drawn upon without movement and coordination is improved. Fixed elements which occur in each exercise are:  totality, fixation, automatic reaction, closed chains, no movement, control, rhythm and respiration. The treatment appears to have a favourable effect on the motoric, circulation, respiration, psyche and the resistance of the patient.

Specific characteristics of the Bugnet method are summarized: exercises in totality, build-up of maximum posture resistance, no movement, appeal to the deepest sensibility (posture reflexes) and isometric contractions.  Many physiotherapists find the method old-fashioned and not applicable in modern day practices. However in our opinion the relevance of the Bugnet method is still great. Stability and posture are the basis of functional movement. 
“Posture resistance is used to activate muscles that are difficult to activate by other means during disorders of the movement apparatus and posture deviations", according to Prof. Dr. J. Droogleever Fortuyn, professor of neurology in Groningen (1973).

The book is recommended because it provides a clear handle for widening and deepening exercise therapy. Within the present physiotherapy setting Bugnet also offers the valuable opportunity of a rehabilitation programme that is suitable for do-it-yourself training.


1. Rééducation Musculaire à base de Réflexes Posturaux, 
   W. Van Gunsteren, O. de Richemont, L. Van Wermeskerken, Masson et Cie,                     Paris , 1968.

2. Bugnet posture resistance therapy, 
    W. Van Gunsteren, O. De Richemont, L. Van Wermeskerken
    Frederik Hendrik Stichting, The Hague , 1973- 1984 (1st /5th edition). 

The Dutch version is limitedly available via the secretariat of the Bugnet Stichting Nederland, tel. 0703247577, € 35.00.  


Joke Klaas- Oude Luttikhuis and Gertie Lenselink- Kamphuis,  Physiotherapists.