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Gait Asymmetry During 400- to 1000-m High-Intensity Track Running in Relation to Injury History

Rahel Gilgen-Ammann, Wolfgang Taube, and Thomas Wyss

Purpose:

To quantify gait asymmetry in well-trained runners with and without previous injuries during interval training sessions incorporating different distances.

Methods:

Twelve well-trained runners participated in 8 high-intensity interval-training sessions on a synthetic track over a 4-wk period. The training consisted of 10 × 400, 8 × 600, 7 × 800, and 6 × 1000-m running. Using an inertial measurement unit, the ground-contact time (GCT) of every step was recorded. To determine gait asymmetry, the GCTs between the left and right foot were compared.

Results:

Overall, gait asymmetry was 3.3% ± 1.4%, and over the course of a training session, the gait asymmetry did not change (F 1,33 = 1.673, P = .205). The gait asymmetry of the athletes with a previous history of injury was significantly greater than that of the athletes without a previous injury. However, this injury-related enlarged asymmetry was detectable only at short (400 m), but not at longer, distances (600–1000 m).

Conclusion:

The gait asymmetry of well-trained athletes differed, depending on their history of injury and the running distance. To detect gait asymmetries, high-intensity runs over relatively short distances are recommended.

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Is Young Age a Limiting Factor When Training Balance? Effects of Child-Oriented Balance Training in Children and Adolescents

Michael Wälchli, Jan Ruffieux,, Audrey Mouthon, Martin Keller, and Wolfgang Taube

Purpose: Balance training (BT) studies in children reported conflicting results without evidence for improvements in children under the age of 8. The aim of this study therefore was to compare BT adaptations in children of different age groups to clarify whether young age prevents positive training outcomes. Methods: The effects of 5 weeks of child-oriented BT were tested in 77 (38 girls and 39 boys) participants of different age groups (6–7 y, 11–12 y, and 14–15 y) and compared with age-matched controls. Static and dynamic postural control, explosive strength, and jump height were assessed. Results: Across age groups, dynamic postural sway decreased (−18.7%; P = .012; η p 2 = .09 ) and explosive force increased (8.6%; P = .040; η p 2 = .06 ) in the intervention groups. Age-specific improvements were observed in dynamic postural sway, with greatest effects in the youngest group (−28.8%; P = .026; r = .61). Conclusion: In contrast to previous research using adult-oriented balance exercises, this study demonstrated for the first time that postural control can be trained from as early as the age of 6 years in children when using child-oriented BT. Therefore, the conception of the training seems to be essential in improving balance skills in young children.