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Wade, L R.1; Weimar, W1

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2003 - Volume 35 - Issue 5 - p S266
F-12K Free Communication/Poster Athletic Performance

1Auburn University, Auburn, AL

Incline (hill) training is widely used for the purpose of speed development; however studies have shown that exposure to inclined surfaces degrade balance and postural stability.

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To investigate the effect running on an inclined surface had on unilateral balance.

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All subjects who volunteered as participants (n=24; males=14, females=10) were tested under two conditions: flat and inclined. Each subject performed a three hundred foot sprint protocol to determine if there was a significant difference in the ability to balance on a single leg following exposure to running on a flat surface or inclined surface. Each subject performed a pre and post test protocol with random assignment to order of surface. Data was collected over 4, 10second trials, under both eyes open and eyes closed conditions, for each leg. Performance was measured using the recordings made by the NeuroCom Balance Masters System. Balance ability was recorded in sway velocity (degrees/second), where the value was representative of the change in center of gravity (COG) in the anterior, posterior, medial, or lateral directions. The angular change of the COG per unit time was summed and divided by the 10 seconds to achieve an average sway velocity of the COG. This average value was recorded for each trial, under each condition, for each leg. The data were separated into four categories: pre/post, inclined/flat, left foot/right foot, eyes open/eyes closed, and then statistically analyzed using a repeated measure's ANOVA.

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It was hypothesized that exposure to an inclined surface would have a significant decrement on unilateral balance; the analysis concluded that there was a significant decrement on single leg balance as a result of exposure to inclination (p > .05).

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This finding has implications for coaches and athletes following inclined training, suggesting that care should be taken to avoid activities that would create postural instability, to reduce the risk of injury.

©2003The American College of Sports Medicine