Effects of an 8-Week Body-Weight Neuromuscular Training on Dynamic Balance and Vertical Jump Performances in Elite Junior Skiing Athletes: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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Abstract

Vitale, JA, La Torre, A, Banfi, G, and Bonato, M. Effects of an 8-week body-weight neuromuscular training on dynamic balance and vertical jump performances in elite junior skiing athletes: a randomized controlled trial. J Strength Cond Res 32(4): 911–920, 2018—The aim of the present randomized controlled trial was to evaluate the effects of an 8-week neuromuscular training program focused on core stability, plyometric, and body-weight strengthening exercises on dynamic postural control and vertical jump performance in elite junior skiers. Twenty-four Italian elite junior male skiers were recruited and randomized to either an experimental group (EG), performing neuromuscular warm-up exercises, (EG; n = 12; age 18 ± 1 years; body mass 66 ± 21 kg; height 1.70 ± 0.1 m) or a control group (CG) involved in a standard warm-up (CG; n = 12; age 18 ± 1 years; body mass 62 ± 14 kg; height 1.73 ± 0.1 m). lower quarter Y-Balance Test (YBT), countermovement jump (CMJ), and drop jump (DJ) at baseline (PRE) and at the end (POST) of the experimental procedures were performed. No significant differences between EG and CG were observed at baseline. Results showed that EG achieved positive effects from PRE to POST measures in the anterior, posteromedial, posterolateral directions, and composite score of YBT for both lower limbs, whereas no significant differences were detected for CG. Furthermore, 2-way analysis of variance with Bonferroni's multiple comparisons test did not reveal any significant differences in CMJ and DJ for both EG and CG. The inclusion of an 8-week neuromuscular warm-up program led to positive effects in dynamic balance ability but not in vertical jump performance in elite junior skiers. Neuromuscular training may be an effective intervention to specifically increase lower limb joint awareness and postural control.

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