Effect of wobble board training on movement strategies to maintain equilibrium on unstable surfaces

Priscila de Brito Silva, Natalie Mrachacz-Kersting, Anderson Souza Oliveira, Uwe Gustav Kersting

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Standing on unstable surfaces requires more complex motor control mechanisms to sustain balance when compared to firm surfaces. Surface instability enhances the demand to maintain equilibrium and is often used to challenge balance, but little is known about how balance training affects movement strategies to control posture while standing on unstable surfaces. This study aimed at assessing the effects of isolated wobble board (WB) training on movement strategies to maintain balance during single-leg standing on a WB. Twenty healthy men were randomly assigned to either a control or a training group. The training group took part in four weeks of WB training and both groups were tested pre and post the intervention. Electromyography from the supporting lower limb muscles, full-body kinematics and ground reaction forces were recorded during firm surface (FS) and WB single-leg standing. WB training did not affect FS performance (p = 0.865), but tripled WB standing time (p < 0.002). Moreover, training decreased lower leg muscle activation (29-59%), leg and trunk velocities (30% and 34%, respectively), and supporting limb angular velocity (24-47% across all planes for the ankle, knee and hip joints). Post intervention standing time was significantly correlated with angular velocities at the hip (r = 0.79) and knee (r = -0.83) for controls, while it correlated significantly with contra-lateral leg (r ∼ 0.70) and trunk velocity (r = -0.74) for trained participants. These results support the assumption that WB training enhances the ability to control counter-rotation mechanisms for balance maintenance on unstable surfaces, which may be a crucial protective factor against sports injuries.

TidsskriftHuman Movement Science
Sider (fra-til)231-238
Antal sider8
StatusUdgivet - apr. 2018
Udgivet eksterntJa