Slackline training and neuromuscular performance in seniors: A randomized controlled trial

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Slackline training (balancing on nylon ribbons) has been shown to improve neuromuscular performance in children and adults. Comparable studies in seniors are lacking. Thus, 32 seniors were randomly assigned [strata: age, gender, physical activity (PA)] to an intervention [INT; n = 16, age: 65 ± 4 years, PA: 9 ± 5 h/week] or control [CON, n = 16, age: 63 ± 4 years, PA: 8 ± 4 h/week] group. Slackline training was given for 6 weeks (3 times per week, attendance 97%). Static and slackline standing balance performance, force development, and maximal strength of the ankle muscles were assessed before and after slackline training. Muscle activity (lower limb and trunk) was recorded during balance testing. Moderate to large group × time interactions (0.02 < P < 0.04, 0.11 < ηp (2)  < 0.17) in favor of INT were found for slackline standing times (INT: left, +278%, P = 0.02; right, +328%, P = 0.03; tandem, +94%, P = 0.007) and muscle activity during single-limb slackline standing [INT: right: rectus abdominis (RA), P = 0.003, -15%; multifidus (MF), P = 0.01, -15%; left: tibialis anterior (TIB), P = 0.03, -12%; soleus (SOL), P = 0.006, -18%; RA, P = 0.04, -11%; MF, P = 0.01, -16%; gastrocnemius medialis (GM), P = 0.02, -19%]. Static balance performance, ankle strength, and power were not affected. Slackline training induced large task-specific improvements of slackline standing performance accompanied with reductions of lower limb and trunk muscle activity. Transfer effects to static balance and strength measures seem limited.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports
Volume26
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)275-283
Number of pages9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 03.2016

ID: 3298364

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