The Effect of a 20-Week Corrective Exercise Program on Functional Movement Patterns in Youth Elite Male Soccer Players

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Context: Poor functional movement patterns negatively affect the ability to perform fundamental movements with precision and efficiency, increasing injury risk in athletes. Objectives: To examine the effect of a 20-week corrective exercise program during the competitive season on functional movement patterns in youth elite male soccer players. Design: Cohort study. Setting: Team facilities. Participants: Sixty-five youth elite male soccer players (age: 15.89 [0.53] y; weight: 67.42 [6.78] kg; and stature: 175.20 [6.34] cm). Of the 4 teams, 2 were randomly selected to take part in the corrective program. Thus, the players were placed into 2 groups: corrective exercise program and control group. Intervention: Corrective exercise program. Main Outcome Measures: Functional Movement Screen (FMS) was used to assess the presence of dysfunctional, asymmetrical, and painful movements in the players before and after the intervention period. In addition to considering the FMS total score (FMStotal), we separated the screen into 3 parts: FMSmove, FMSflex, and FMSstab. A repeated-measures analysis of variance was conducted to determine the effectiveness of the training program on FMS scores. The chi-square test was performed to determine whether there were significant changes in the frequencies of asymmetric and dysfunctional movements after 20 weeks. Results: No athlete experienced severe injuries during the intervention period. There was a significant group by time interaction (P < .01) for FMStotal, FMSmove, and FMSstab, in which only the corrective exercise program increased their scores after the intervention period (P < .05). A chi-square analysis showed a significant (P < .05) decrease in asymmetric and dysfunctional movements at the follow-up in corrective exercise program, whereas these changes were not observed in the control group. Conclusions: Youth elite soccer players demonstrate a high prevalence of asymmetric movements during FMS testing, but their functional movement patterns can be improved during the competitive season following a specific corrective exercise program.

The authors are with the Department of Biomedical and Neuromotor Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

Campa (francesco.campa3@unibo.it) is corresponding author.
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