NEUROMUSCULAR TRAINING IMPROVES PERFORMANCE AND LOWER-EXTREMITY BIOMECHANICS IN FEMALE ATHLETES
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a comprehensive neuromuscular training program on measures of performance and lower-extremity movement biomechanics in female athletes. The hypothesis was that significant improvements in measures of performance would be demonstrated concomitant with improved biomechanical measures related to anterior cruciate ligament injury risk. Forty-one female basketball, soccer, and volleyball players (age, 15.3 ± 0.9 years; weight, 64.8 ± 9.96 kg; height, 171.2 ± 7.21 cm) underwent 6 weeks of training that included 4 main components (plyometric and movement, core strengthening and balance, resistance training, and speed training). Twelve age-, height-, and weight-matched controls underwent the same testing protocol twice 6 weeks apart. Trained athletes demonstrated increased predicted 1 repetition maximum squat (92%) and bench press (20%). Right and left single-leg hop distance increased 10.39 cm and 8.53 cm, respectively, and vertical jump also increased from 39.9 ± 0.9 cm to 43.2 ± 1.1 cm with training. Speed in a 9.1-m sprint improved from 1.80 ± 0.02 seconds to 1.73 ± 0.01 seconds. Pre- and posttest 3-dimensional motion analysis demonstrated increased knee flexion-extension range of motion during the landing phase of a vertical jump (right, 71.9 ± 1.48 to 76.9 ± 1.48; left, 71.3 ± 1.58 to 77.3 ± 1.48). Training decreased knee valgus (28%) and varus (38%) torques. Control subjects did not demonstrate significant alterations during the 6-week interval. The results of this study support the hypothesis that the combination of multiple-injury prevention-training components into a comprehensive program improves measures of performance and movement biomechanics.