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Promoting Strength and Balance in Adolescents During Physical Education: Effects of a Short-Term Resistance Training

Granacher, Urs1; Muehlbauer, Thomas1; Doerflinger, Britta2; Strohmeier, Ralf3; Gollhofer, Albert2

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: April 2011 - Volume 25 - Issue 4 - pp 940-949
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181c7bb1e
Original Research

Granacher, U, Muehlbauer, T, Doerflinger, B, Strohmeier, R, and Gollhofer, A. Promoting strength and balance in adolescents during physical education: effects of a short-term resistance training. J Strength Cond Res 25(4): 940-949, 2011-Secular trends in strength and postural control have been reported for children and adolescents. Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate the impact of a short-term ballistic strength training (BST) followed by detraining on measures of strength and postural control in adolescents. Twenty-eight high-school students participated in this study and were assigned to either an intervention (n = 14, age 16.7 ± 0.6 years, body mass index [BMI] 21.1 ± 1.7 kg·m−2) or a control group (n = 14, age 16.8 ± 0.7 years, BMI 19.9 ± 1.7 kg·m−2). The intervention class participated in a short-term (8 week) lower extremity BST program 2 times a week integrated in their regular physical education lessons. Pre, post, and follow-up tests included the measurements of maximal isometric force (MIF) and rate of force development (RFD) of the leg extensors on a leg press with the feet resting on a force platform, vertical jumping height (countermovement jump [CMJ]) on a force plate and the assessment of static (1-legged stance on a balance platform), and dynamic (mediolateral perturbation impulse on a balance platform) postural control. Ballistic strength training resulted in statistically significant improvements in MIF (p = 0.001) and CMJ height (p < 0.001), which were still present after detraining for MIF (p = 0.04). Furthermore, tendencies in terms of small to medium interaction effects yet not statistically significant improvements were found for RFD (p = 0.38), and measures of static (p = 0.15) but not of dynamic postural control. In adolescents, lower extremity BST is a suitable training modality for the application in a school setting (particularly during physical education lessons) that produced transient improvements in strength variables. These results could have an impact on improving the performance level in various motor fitness skills and sports activities in physical education.

1Institute of Exercise and Health Sciences, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland; 2Institute of Sport and Sport Science, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany; and 3Staudinger Comprehensive School, Freiburg, Germany

No funding was received for this research.

Address correspondence to Urs Granacher,

© 2011 National Strength and Conditioning Association