Effects of balance training on balance performance in youth : role of training difficulty

GND
1210501503
ORCID
0000-0003-1508-7500
LSF
59015
Affiliation
Division of Movement and Training Sciences/Biomechanics of Sport, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany
Schedler, Simon;
GND
120951060X
LSF
60332
Affiliation
Division of Movement and Training Sciences/Biomechanics of Sport, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany
Tenelsen, Florian;
Affiliation
Division of Movement and Training Sciences/Biomechanics of Sport, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany
Wich, Laura;
GND
173826040
ORCID
0000-0001-7774-8664
LSF
58845
Affiliation
Division of Movement and Training Sciences/Biomechanics of Sport, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany
Mühlbauer, Thomas

Abstract: Background Cross-sectional studies have shown that balance performance can be challenged by the level of task difficulty (e.g., varying stance conditions, sensory manipulations). However, it remains unclear whether the application of different levels of task difficulty during balance training (BT) leads to altered adaptations in balance performance. Thus, we examined the effects of BT conducted under a high versus a low level of task difficulty on balance performance.

Methods: Forty male adolescents were randomly assigned to a BT program using a low (BT-low: n  = 20; age: 12.4 ± 2.0 yrs) or a high (BT-high: n  = 20; age: 12.5 ± 2.5 yrs) level of balance task difficulty. Both groups trained for 7 weeks (2 sessions/week, 30–35 min each). Pre- and post-training assessments included measures of static (one-legged stance [OLS] time), dynamic (10-m gait velocity), and proactive (Y-Balance Test [YBT] reach distance, Functional Reach Test [FRT]; Timed-Up-and-Go Test [TUG]) balance.

Results: Significant main effects of Test (i.e., pre- to post-test improvements) were observed for all but one balance measure (i.e., 10-m gait velocity). Additionally, a Test x Group interaction was detected for the FRT in favor of the BT-high group (Δ + 8%, p  < 0.001, d  = 0.35). Further, tendencies toward significant Test x Group interactions were found for the YBT anterior reach (in favor of BT-high: Δ + 9%, p  < 0.001, d  = 0.60) and for the OLS with eyes opened and on firm surface (in favor of BT-low: Δ + 31%, p  = 0.003, d  = 0.67).

Conclusions: Following 7 weeks of BT, enhancements in measures of static, dynamic, and proactive balance were observed in the BT-high and BT-low groups. However, BT-high appears to be more effective for increasing measures of proactive balance, whereas BT-low seems to be more effective for improving proxies of static balance.

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