Posture and sports performance

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University of Alabama Libraries

The purpose of these investigations was to examine the influence of a device intended to "modify posture" and its influence on sports performance. We investigated the impact of a hand-grip device (e3 Fitness Grips, BioGrip, Sacramento, CA) designed to put the human skeleton in a "more favorable anatomical position," on 3.2-kilometer (2-mile) running performance by measuring time and counting steps. We observed no change in running time but a significant change (F(1,8)=5.7, p=0.04) in step count, but only for participants who could run 3.2-kilometers (2-miles) under 14 minutes. If a person is able to run 3.2-kilometers under 14 minutes, then using the fitness grips may decrease the number of steps it takes to run a given distance, but may not improve time. In the second study, we evaluated the impact of an isometric exercise treatment with grips designed to put the human skeleton in a "more advantageous position" (e3 Swing Grips, BioGrip, Sacramento, CA) on bat speed. We observed that the grip exercise treatment significantly (F(2,44)=7.6, p<.001) increased mean bat speed immediately after doing the treatment by 33.4 ± 2.5 m/s (0.45 m/s) and after five minutes of rest by 34.0 ± 2.8 ms (0.9 m/s) for collegiate baseball players when compared with a triceps pushdown treatment (placebo post treatment 32.3 ± 2.3 and 5 min rest 33.2 ± 2.7 m/s) and no treatment (control post treatment 32.5 ± 3.1 and 5 min rest 33.2 ± 2.7 m/s), but not for softball players (grip treatment post 28.7 ± 1.5 and 5 min rest 28.9 ± 2.1 m/s). The ease in use of the postural grip treatment may be a practical way to incorporate intense isometric muscle contractions of the core musculature into practice or game conditions as a means of enhancing bat speed velocity in baseball players similar to those tested. A review of literature was conducted examining posture and sports performance. The literature is clear that there are sport-specific postural deviations. It is unclear if these postural deviations lead to better performance or if a specific training plan should be developed to help build and maintain a more balanced body posture. Future research should examine the effect of posture control on static and dynamic movement.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Kinesiology, Biomechanics