Neuromuscular and Torque Kinetic Changes After 10 Months of Explosive Sport Training in Prepubertal Gymnasts

in Pediatric Exercise Science
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Purpose: To determine neuromuscular and torque kinetic changes after 10 months of explosive sport training in the elbow of prepubertal gymnasts compared with untrained age-matched controls. Methods: In 15 young gymnasts (9.02 [0.41] y) and 15 age-matched untrained males (8.76 [0.51] y), the rate of torque development (RTD) using the Biodex System 4 and the coactivation index were evaluated using electromyography. Explosive strength variables were normalized to the peak torque. Measures were determined twice: before and after a 10-month period of gymnastic training. Covariation analysis was used to account for differences in baseline values between gymnasts and controls. Results: After 10 months of training, gymnasts demonstrated a significantly (P < .05) greater increase in normalized peak RTD values in elbow flexion compared with controls (7.76% vs 0.65%). Covariation analysis also revealed a significantly (P < .05) greater reduction in the coactivation index of elbow extension in the gymnasts (−7.81% [5.44%] points) compared with controls (−1.23% [6.32%] points). Conclusions: Compared with physical development alone, 10 months of explosive-strength training of young gymnasts is sufficient to increase torque-normalized RTD in the elbow joint of prepubertal boys. The RTD changes the authors observed in antagonistic elbow functions vary among gymnasts due to the specific demands of gymnastic training.

A. Kochanowicz and Mieszkowski are with the Department of Gymnastics and Dance, Gdansk University of Physical Education and Sport, Gdańsk, Poland. Niespodziński is with the Institute of Physical Education, Kazimierz Wielki University, Bydgoszcz, Poland. Sawczyn is with the Department of Sport for All, Gdansk University of Physical Education and Sport, Gdańsk, Poland. Cięszczyk is with the Department of Biology, Ecology and Sports Medicine, Gdansk University of Physical Education and Sport, Gdańsk, Poland. K. Kochanowicz is with the Department of Theory of Sport and Human Motorics, Gdansk University of Physical Education and Sport, Gdańsk, Poland.

A. Kochanowicz (andrzejkochanowicz@o2.pl) is corresponding author.
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