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D. Clark Dickin and Jacqueline E. Heath

Whole body vibration (WBV) has been shown to improve force and power output as well as flexibility and speed, with improvements suggested to result from reduced electromechanical delays, improved rate of force development, and sensitivity of muscle spindles. Fixed frequency studies on postural control have been somewhat equivocal; however, individualized frequency protocols have shown promising results in other motor tasks. To assess this, 18 healthy young adults experienced three 4-minute WBV sessions with postural control assessed before vibration, after multiple exposures, and during recovery, with altered levels of sensory information available to the participants. Sway velocity, sway path length, and sway area were assessed in each environment. Study findings revealed that stability was impacted following WBV, with more challenging environments eliciting improvements persisting for 20 minutes. When the environment was less challenging, postural stability was impaired; however, the effects dissipated quickly (10-20 min). It was determined that exposure to individualized frequency WBV served to impair postural control when the challenge was low, but resulted in heightened stability when the overall challenge was high and vestibular information was needed for stability.

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D. Clark Dickin, Emily Johann, He Wang and Jennifer K. Popp

Drop height and fatigue have been shown in isolation to affect landing mechanics and increase the risk of sustaining an anterior cruciate ligament injury. The purpose of this study was to identify the combined effects of drop height and fatigue on landing mechanics in recreationally active females. To assess this, 11 healthy, young adult females performed a series of drop jumps from randomized heights before and following a lower extremity fatiguing protocol. Findings for kinematic results demonstrated that hip flexion decreased at initial contact (P = .003) and maximum hip (P = .005) and knee flexion (P = .001) angles increased with increases in drop height. Kinetic results demonstrated that vertical ground reaction forces and joint moments and powers increased as height increased. Ground reaction forces and maximum knee valgus increased from pre- to postfatigue with interactive effects observed in frontal plane hip angle at impact and peak ankle moment. These results confirm the effects of drop height and fatigue and highlighted interactions between these factors. The differential effect of fatigue as a function of drop heights helps to illustrate potentially risky situations that should be addressed in training and injury prevention programs.

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W. Matthew Silvers, Eadric Bressel, D. Clark Dickin, Garry Killgore and Dennis G. Dolny

Context:

Muscle activation during aquatic treadmill (ATM) running has not been examined, despite similar investigations for other modes of aquatic locomotion and increased interest in ATM running.

Objectives:

The objectives of this study were to compare normalized (percentage of maximal voluntary contraction; %MVC), absolute duration (aDUR), and total (tACT) lower-extremity muscle activity during land treadmill (TM) and ATM running at the same speeds.

Design:

Exploratory, quasi-experimental, crossover design.

Setting:

Athletic training facility.

Participants:

12 healthy recreational runners (age = 25.8 ± 5 y, height = 178.4 ± 8.2 cm, mass = 71.5 ± 11.5 kg, running experience = 8.2 ± 5.3 y) volunteered for participation.

Intervention:

All participants performed TM and ATM running at 174.4, 201.2, and 228.0 m/min while surface electromyographic data were collected from the vastus medialis, rectus femoris, gastrocnemius, tibialis anterior, and biceps femoris.

Main Outcome Measures:

For each muscle, a 2 × 3 repeated-measures ANOVA was used to analyze the main effects and environment–speed interaction (P ≤ .05) of each dependent variable: %MVC, aDUR, and tACT.

Results:

Compared with TM, ATM elicited significantly reduced %MVC (−44.0%) but increased aDUR (+213.1%) and tACT (+41.9%) in the vastus medialis, increased %MVC (+48.7%) and aDUR (+128.1%) in the rectus femoris during swing phase, reduced %MVC (−26.9%) and tACT (−40.1%) in the gastrocnemius, increased aDUR (+33.1%) and tACT (+35.7%) in the tibialis anterior, and increased aDUR (+41.3%) and tACT (+29.2%) in the biceps femoris. At faster running speeds, there were significant increases in tibialis anterior %MVC (+8.6−15.2%) and tACT (+12.7−17.0%) and rectus femoris %MVC (12.1−26.6%; swing phase).

Conclusion:

No significant environment–speed interaction effects suggested that observed muscle-activity differences between ATM and TM were due to environmental variation, ie, buoyancy (presumed to decrease %MVC) and drag forces (presumed to increase aDUR and tACT) in the water.