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Adaptations on Physical Performance Characteristics after a 6-Month Specific Training in Rhythmic Gymnasts

Helen Douda, Alexandra Avloniti, Athanasios Kasabalis, Savvas P. Tokmakidis
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 22 Number 1: Page 10 (March 2007)

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Abstract: This study examined the specific effects of a 6-month training program on the physical performance characteristics of rhythmic gymnastics (RG) athletes. Seventy-one female rhythmic gymnasts and 81 non-gymnasts (total, 152) were divided into four age categories: 8¿10 yrs, 11¿12 yrs, 13¿14 yrs, and 15¿17 yrs. Field measurements of speed, muscular strength, jumping ability, explosive power, and flexibility were made before and after a 6-month training program. The analysis of covariance, using as covariate the initial values, indicated that RG athletes attained the best scores in speed (p < 0.001), jumping ability (p < 0.001), and sit-ups (p < 0.001) and were more flexible than the control group in the sit-and-reach test (p < 0.01) and shoulder flexibility measurements (p < 0.001). In addition, gymnasts showed significant progress and obtained the highest scores in the majority of the tests as compared to the control group after 6 months of training. When measuring hip flexibility and leg lifts forward and sideward, gymnasts had better values on the right leg than the left leg. This observation shows the partial use of the right leg as the prevalent working leg as compared to the left leg which is considered the ¿support¿ leg during the performance of different exercises. These results reveal the physical performance characteristics of RG gymnasts as well as the specific adaptations attained in strength and flexibility after 6 months of training. Coaches and athletes should be aware of these findings in order to develop and maintain physical abilities sufficient for a successful technical performance in RG.

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