Kramer, K. E., Kelly, S. K., Manos, T. M., & Ortega, J. D. (2012). The effects of core strength training on static and dynamic balance in female collegiate athletes. Presentation 1454 at the 59th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, San Francisco, California; May 29-June 2, 2012.

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The core muscles of the body are essential components to most kinetic chains in sport activities; therefore, control of core strength should improve controlled motion during dynamic and static balance tasks. Although it is well established that core strength training improves balance in untrained adults, it is unknown whether core strength training improves balance in trained athletes.

This study determined if a six-week core strength-training program improved dynamic and static balance in Division II female athletes with prior core strength training experience. The Experimental and Control groups were comprised of 33 Division II female athletes (N = 19 softball, N = 2 basketball, N = 7 crew, and N = 5 cross-country). Both groups performed baseline core strength tests [60-second maximum sit-up, maximum time held in side plank (sec), and maximum number of medicine-ball twists] and balance tests [Functional Reach, Single-Limb Dynamic Balance Single-Limb Eyes Closed, and Single-Limb Eyes Open performed on a force platform, and Star Excursion Balance Test. For the core strength tests, T-scores were calculated for each test and then summed, resulting in a composite core strength score for each athlete For the four tests on the force platform, average CoP velocity (AveVel in cm/s) and 95% of the total area ellipse (95%TAE in cm2) were calculated in addition to the maximum reach (cm) of the functional reach test and the combined maximum reach (sum of three directions) for the Star Excursion Balance Test (cm). The experimental group completed a training program consisting of 10 core strength exercises performed three times per week for six weeks. All athletes were re-tested after the experimental period.

Before core strength training, there was no difference in strength or balance between the two groups. After six weeks of core strength training, the experimental group improved in core strength (594.60%) and dynamic balance. Maximum functional reach and other measures of static balance did not change. Although the control group showed a modest improvement in core strength measures (10.76%), there was no improvement in balance except for a 10% decrease in the average CoP velocity during the Single-Limb Dynamic Balance test.

Implication. Six weeks of supplemental core strength training improves core strength and dynamic balance but does not significantly affect static balance or functional reach in Division II, collegiate female athletes. Thus, the effects of core strength training are more limited in trained female athletes than untrained female individuals.

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