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Strength and Balance

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
I Have the Secret posted this awesome topic in instruction about strength and balance.

This research article indicates the importance of integrating balance with strength, especially for skiers.

Research Review

Effects of Balance Training on Strength Development


Heitkamp HC, Horstmann T, MayerF, Weller J, Dickhuth HH. Gain in Strength and Muscular Balance After Balance Training. Int J Sports Med 2001;22:285-90.

This study looked at the effects of balance (stabilization) training on muscle strength and the equalizing effect on muscle strength imbalance between the right and left leg in the knee flexors and extensors (hamstring and quadriceps).

30 participants were randomly selected to train in one of two testing groups. Each training session lasted 25 minutes. One group was termed strength training and performed 2 sets of 5 repetitions at 80% of maximum strength on the recumbent leg press and seated leg curl machines.

The other group was termed balance training and performed the following exercises:

· Hamstring curls using a stability ball (Ball Supine Leg Curls) with isometric and/or slow concentric/eccentric muscle actions for 5 repetitions lasting 20 seconds using only body weight (gravity) and momentum.

· Balance exercises (two-leg and single-leg) on a moving (swinging) platform, a balance board and a trampoline while throwing a ball in the air and catching it with eyes open and closed for 5 repetitions lasting 20 seconds using only body weight (gravity) and momentum (decelerating the ball).

Balance was tested using a single-leg and a double-leg balance apparatus. Strength was tested using an isokinetic machine that measured maximal isometric strength at 60 and 30-degree knee angles from full knee extension.

The results indicated that for balance, the balance-training group increased by 146% and the strength-training group increased 34%. For strength in the extensors, the balance-training group increased 12% and the strength-training group increased 22% and for the flexors there was only a slight difference between the groups. More importantly, the resulted showed that the balance-training group achieved a significant increase in the equality of strength between the flexors of the right and left legs and extensors of the right and left legs, while the strength-training group displayed a non-significant achievement of equal muscle strength. In the strength-training group, 4 cases led to an increase in muscular imbalance between the right and left flexors (quads).



Stabilization Training must precede all other forms of training (Strength and Power). It is not the only form of training, but may be the most import to achieve higher levels of strength and/or power.

Stabilization Training, as demonstrated in this study:

1. Builds a proper foundation for the kinetic chain by addressing muscular strength imbalance, which can lead to compensation and injury.

2. Significantly enhances strength by increasing intra-muscular coordination (motor unit recruitment within specific muscles) and inter-muscular coordination (recruitment of all muscles collectively).

3. Optimizes the ability of the kinetic chain to select the right muscles, at the right time, with the right intensity at the right joint in the right plane of motion (neuromuscular efficiency) to maintain the body’s center of mass over its changing base of support (transitional and dynamic balance).

Through Stabilization Training we create a solid platform from which the kinetic chain can operate to increase movement patterns and decrease the chance for injury. Also, by placing a greater demand on the neuromuscular system, we increase energy expenditure and this combined with proper nutrition is vital for body fat reduction. Thus Stabilization Training provides a win-win situation regardless of the training goal.

Source: National Academy of Sports Medicine

One of the most significant aspects of this study is the muscular imbalance between the quads and hamstrings that occured with the strength training only group. This has been shown to be a possible cause of ACL injuries.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 26, 2002 08:49 PM: Message edited 2 times, by Lisamarie ]</font>
post #2 of 2
nice edit job, LM.
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