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The Potential for a Targeted Strength-Training Program to Decrease Asymmetry and Increase Performance: A Proof of Concept in Sprinting
Abstract and Figures
Purpose The global application of horizontal force (FH) via hip extension is related to improvements in sprint performance (e.g. maximal velocity [vmax] and power [Pmax]). Little is known regarding the contribution of individual-leg FH and how a difference between the legs (asymmetry) might subsequently affect sprint performance. Methods We assessed a single male athlete for pre-post outcomes of a targeted hip extension training programme on FH asymmetry and sprint performance metrics. An instrumented non-motorised treadmill was used to obtain individual-leg and global sprint kinetics and determine the athlete’s strong and weak leg, with regards to the ability to produce FH while sprinting. Following a 6-week control-block of testing, a 6-week targeted training programme was added to the athlete’s strength training regime which aimed to strengthen the weak leg and improve hip extension function while sprinting. Results Pre- to post-intervention, the athlete increased FH (standardised effect [ES] = 2.2; +26%) in his weak leg, decreased the FH asymmetry (ES = -0.64; -19%) and increased vmax (ES = 0.67; +2%) and Pmax (ES = 3.2; +15%). Conclusions This case-study highlighted a promising link between targeted training intervention to decrease asymmetry in FH and subsequent improvement of sprint performance metrics. These findings also strengthen the theoretical relationship between the contribution of individual-leg FH and global FH while sprinting; indicating that reducing asymmetry may decrease injury risk and increase practical performance measures. This case-study may stimulate further research investigating targeted training interventions in the field of strength and conditioning and injury prevention.
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