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Purpose: The purpose of this pilot study was to assess the efficacy of a suspension-training movement program to improve muscular- and skill-related fitness and functional movement in children, compared with controls. Methods: In total, 28 children [male: 46%; age: 9.3 (1.5) y; body mass index percentile: 68.6 (27.5)] were randomly assigned to intervention (n = 17) or control (n = 11) groups. The intervention group participated in a 6-week suspension-training movement program for two 1-hour sessions per week. Muscular- and skill-related fitness and functional movement assessments were measured at baseline and following the intervention. Analyses of covariance models were used to assess the effects of time and intervention. Results: The intervention participants achieved greater improvements in Modified Pull-Up performance (P = .01, Cohen’s d = 0.54) and Functional Movement Screen score (P < .001, Cohen’s d = 1.89), relative to controls. Conclusion: The suspension-training intervention delivered twice a week was beneficial for upper body pulling muscular endurance and the Functional Movement Screen score. Future interventions using this modality in youth would benefit from larger, more diverse samples (through schools or community fitness centers) and a longer intervention length.
St. Laurent, Masteller, and Sirard are with the Dept. of Kinesiology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA.