Static balance performance differs depending on the test, age and specific role played in acrobatic gymnastics

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Background: Static balance performance appears to detect differences between roles played in team sports. Static balance can also be influenced by the subject's height and age, and the type of test used. Research question: Could the static balance profile show differences among the role played depending on the specific test evaluated and the gymnasts' age? Methods: A cross-sectional design was applied. 46 acrobatic gymnasts (37 females and 9 males) were divided in four groups according to role (base or top gymnast) and stage of adolescence (early adolescent or midadolescent) during two different static tests: (1) unipedal with open and closed eyes (generic), and (2) headstand (specific). To test the effect of the role and the age group, a two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) between groups was performed. Centre of pressure (COP) measurements were obtained and normalised relative to participants height, including length travelled on the anteroposterior and mediolateral axis (AP_CoP and ML_CoP) and the mean speed (SP_CoP). Results: Base gymnasts obtained lower values in the CoP excursion than Top gymnasts but only in unipedal tests for all the variables analysed (5.536 ¿ F1,42 ¿ 10.589, 0.002 ¿ p ¿ 0.023), except for the AP_CoP in unipedal-closed. Mid-adolescent gymnasts obtained lower values in the CoP excursion regardless of the task than early adolescent (5.324 ¿ F1,42 ¿ 14.805, 0.000 ¿ p ¿ 0.026). Significance: It has been observed a clear effect of age on the static balance manifested in acrobatic gymnastics, regardless of the subject's height, the role played, and the test performed. The effect of the role played in this team sport has been different depending on the type of test performed.
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Gait & Posture, vol 90, p. 48-54.
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