Evidence of a non-specific effect of balance training on postural control mechanisms suggests that balance training during mechanically unperturbed standing may improve postural corrective responses following external perturbations. The purpose of the present study was to examine kinematics of the trunk as well as muscular activity of the lower leg and paraspinal muscles during postural responses to support-surface rotations after short-term balance training. Experiments were performed in control (n=10) and experimental (n=11) groups. The experimental group participated in the 3-day balance training program. During the training, participants stood on a force platform and were instructed to voluntarily shift their center of pressure in indicated directions as represented by a cursor on a monitor. Postural perturbation tests were executed before and after the training period: the slow and fast 10° dorsiflexions were induced at angular velocities of approximately 50°s -1 and 200°s -1, respectively. In the experimental group, the amplitude of the trunk displacements during slow and fast perturbations was up to 33.4% and 26.7% lower, respectively, following the training. The magnitude of the muscular activity was reduced in both the early and late components of the response. The kinematic parameters and muscular responses did not change in the control group. The results suggest that balance training during unperturbed standing has the potential to improve postural corrective responses to unexpected balance perturbation through (1) improved neuromuscular coordination of the involved muscles and (2) adaptive neural modifications on the spinal and cortical levels facilitated by voluntary activity.
- Balance training
- Motor learning
- Postural corrective responses
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine