The effect of strength training on dynamic postural stability in junior elite horse riders.

Adam Gaunt, Kathryn Nankervis, Isabeau Deckers, Meganwy Roberts

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

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INTRODUCTION - Strength and core stability is instrumental for injury prevention, rehabilitation and maximising performance.[1] Physical
screening of athletes is commonplace in many sports to identify areas of weakness, instability or poor neuromuscular control, but is not yet
typically used in assessment of riders.[2] The Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT) assesses the athletes’ ability to perform a single leg task,
challenging their neuromuscular control and their ability to maintain postural stability in a dynamic task.[3] We hypothesised that the
dynamic control of riders would improve as a result of a structured six-month strength-training program.
METHOD - Eight junior elite riders of mixed riding disciplines were screened at time 0 (start), 3 months
(during) and 6 months (end intervention). SEBTs were performed on the MAT™ (Movement Assessment
Tool) in the anterior (fig. 1), posterior-medial (fig. 2) and posterior- lateral (fig. 3) directions. Intervention
included low resistance strength and conditioning training combined with core stability and
individualised exercises. All exercises were prescribed by a qualified Sports Therapist and Strength and
Conditioning Coach. Wilcoxon tests (using SPSS 24.0) were used to detect differences in SEBT
performance between screening intervals.
RESULTS - After 3 months and 6 months intervention respectively, significant differences were seen in the
performance of the SEBT in the three directions posterior-medial (left leg: p=0.066, p=0.674; right leg:
p=0.015, p=0.025), posterior-lateral (left leg: p=0.015; p=0.025; right leg: p=0.028, p=0.484) and anterior
(left leg: p=0.028, p=0.012; right leg: p=0.021, p=0.017) (Graph 1 and 2).
DISCUSSION – As proven in this study, the SEBT results improved after the 3- and 6-month strengthtraining program. This finding is supported by a study by Benis et al. (2016) and suggests better athletic
performance and a lower risk for injury.[4,5] Balance, force absorption, neuromuscular control and coordination are measured by the SEBT and these physical capacities are believed to be rider-specific sport
parameters.[2,4,6] This study also demonstrates that a successful strength programme does not have to
rely on specialist equipment or facilities to conduct an exercise programme.
A limitation of this study is that no control group was included. Therefore, further study is recommended
using a suitable control group.
To conclude, the SEBT seems to be an efficient and useful screening tool in the equestrian sport
discipline. This study provides coaches and support staff with guidelines to screen and train their
equestrian athletes with a view to reduce injury risk, improve athletic ability and ultimately improve
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019
EventHorses Inside Out Conference -
Duration: 23 Feb 201924 Feb 2019


ConferenceHorses Inside Out Conference


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