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Strength of endurance training for undergraduate music majors at a university?

Brownen J. Ackermann, Roger Adams, Elfreda Marshall
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 17 Number 1: Page 33 (March 2002)

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Abstract: The purposes of this study were to evaluate the effect of an exercise regimen for undergraduate music majors at a university, and to determine whether a short-term, moderate-intensity program designed to assist in their preparation for the athletic task of playing an instrument for many hours a day could be incorporated into their timetables and show strength gains. In this study, 18 volunteer university undergraduate music majors were randomly allocated into either six weeks of strength training or six weeks of endurance training of proximal upper-limb and trunk muscles. All subjects were measured over a six-week control period prior to the exercise period. Tests using both physical and self-report data were repeated on three separate occasions to determine whether training produced any effects over this period, and which form of training was the more effective. Physical testing data were collected by an independent tester who was blinded to the study condition. These data included Cybex dynamometer testing in two planes of shoulder motion, field measurements, and timing an isometric 90-degree forward flexion arm hold. Questionnaires were used to gather data on the frequency and severity of performance-related musculoskeletal disorders and on the perceived exertion of playing. Results indicated that the program produced significant strength gains in both field measurements and dynamometer testing in both exercise groups. While all field measurements of the actual exercises performed increased significantly over the exercise period, the dynamometer results showed a significant effect of the exercise program on the horizontal plane only, suggesting this group of musicians took a task-specific view of the exercises and focused more on their application of horizontal exercises, seeing the relevance in relation to playing an instrument. Vertical isokinetic measurements remained unchanged. Perceived exertion of playing was significantly reduced, with endurance training significantly better than strength training for achieving this result.

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