Sports-related testing protocols are required to reveal trunk stability adaptations in high-level athletes
Author(s): D. Barbado, L. C. Barbado, J.L.L. Elvira, J. H.van Dieën, F. J. Vera-Garcia
Journal: Gait & Posture
DOI Number: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2016.06.027
Link: Link to publication
Trunk/core stability is considered a key component of training programs, because it could contribute to prevention of low-back and lower-limb injuries and to sports performance. Based on the specificity principle, sports-related trunk stability tests would be required in elite sports performance. However, there may be some generic qualities underlying trunk stability that can be assessed with nonspecific protocols, which are broadly used in sport and rehabilitation. To assess whether specific tests are needed in a high-performance context, we analyzed the influence of specialization in sports with large but qualitatively different balance control demands (judo and kayaking) on trunk stability and compared high-performance athletes with recreational athletes without a specific training history. Twenty-five judokas, sixteen kayakers and thirty-seven recreational athletes performed two trunk stability protocols: sudden loading, to assess trunk responses to external and unexpected perturbations; stable and unstable sitting, to assess the participant’s ability to control trunk while sitting. Within-session test-retest reliability analyses were performed to support the between-groups comparison. Judokas showed lower angular displacement (0.199 rad) against posterior loading than kayakers (0.221 rad) probably because they are frequently challenged by higher sudden loads while they are pushed or pulled. Kayakers showed lower error (<6.12 mm) of center of pressure displacements than judokas especially during dynamic task while sitting on an unstable seat (>7.33 mm), probably because they train and compete seated on unstable surfaces. Importantly, judokas and kayakers obtained better results than recreational athletes only in those tests designed according to the specific demands of each sport (p < 0.050). In conclusion, specific-sport training induces specific trunk stability adaptations, which are not revealed through nonspecific tests.