Case Study: The Effects of Suspension Training on Measures of Lower Limb Strength and Stability
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Introduction: Suspension Training (ST) can be traced back over 150 years ago when it was first used in physical education classes to promote bodyweight in multi-directional movements as a form of exercise. Since then, ST has evolved into a valued tool used to design specific training programs geared towards better weight lifting techniques, core and limb stability, and strength gains throughout an entire range of motion. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to measure the possible changes suspension training will have on lower limb strength and stability on a 21-year old detrained female. Method: Field tests consisting of a single-leg squat, triple-hop limb symmetry test, along with a drop jump test with force plate measurements will be done pre- and post- over a six-week prescribed training program. These tests will quantitatively and qualitatively show the pre- and post-physical condition the participant is in, and what changes have or have not taken place during the six week training cycle. Results: It was found with the use of ST, the participant showed gains in stability, range of motion, and strength in this six week trial. Through the field tests of the single leg squat test and the triple hop limb symmetry test one can determine the likelihood of future problems with knee and hip deficiencies in strength and motion. Pretest showed elevated risks for knee injury through the participant’s pelvic drop, knee valgus, trunk lean, and controlled landing ability. Posttests indicated a decreased risk of knee injury based on the aforementioned factors. Posttest results for the drop jump with a force plate measurement, showed the first and second landing had a decrease in the Fx and Fy vectors, and an increase in the Fz vector. This numerically showed the participant had more concentrated force in the vertical direction, and less force being applied in the left/right and front/back directions. Conclusion: This study points to reasons why it is beneficial to include suspension training in personal and athletic training sessions for increased lower limb strength and stability. In the future emphasis should be placed on a longitudinal investigation on whether suspension training correlates to these gains, or the addition of weight training provides enough benefit.