The Potential for a Targeted Strength-Training Program to Decrease Asymmetry and Increase Performance: A Proof of Concept in Sprinting

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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The global application of horizontal force (FH) via hip extension is related to improvements in sprint performance (eg, maximal velocity [vmax] and power [Pmax]). Little is known regarding the contribution of individual leg FH and how a difference between the legs (asymmetry) might subsequently affect sprint performance. The authors assessed a single male athlete for pre-post outcomes of a targeted hip-extension training program on FH asymmetry and sprint-performance metrics. An instrumented nonmotorized treadmill was used to obtain individual leg and global sprint kinetics and determine the athlete’s strong and weak leg, with regard to the ability to produce FH while sprinting. Following a 6-wk control block of testing, a 6-wk targeted training program was added to the athlete’s strength-training regimen, which aimed to strengthen the weak leg and improve hip-extension function during sprinting. Preintervention to postintervention, the athlete increased FH (standardized effect [ES] = 2.2; +26%) in his weak leg, decreased the FH asymmetry (ES = −0.64; −19%), and increased vmax (ES = 0.67; +2%) and Pmax (ES = 3.2; +15%). This case study highlighted a promising link between a targeted training intervention to decrease asymmetry in FH and subsequent improvement of sprint-performance metrics. These findings also strengthen the theoretical relationship between the contribution of individual leg FH and global FH while sprinting, indicating that reducing asymmetry may decrease injury risk and increase practical performance measures. This case study may stimulate further research investigating targeted training interventions in the field of strength and conditioning and injury prevention.

Brown, Cross, Helms, and Morin are with the Sports Performance Research Inst New Zealand (SPRINZ), Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Feldman is with NorthSport Olympic Weightlifting Club (NOW), Auckland, New Zealand. Marrier is with the National Inst of Sport, Expertise and Performance (INSEP), Paris, France. Samozino is with the Inter-University Laboratory of Human Movement Biology (LIBM), Université Savoie Mont Blanc, Le Bourget-du-Lac, France.

Brown (scott.brown@aut.ac.nz) is corresponding author.
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