Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
We evaluated a short-term (3 months) and a long-term (8 months) effect of dance training on joint mobility and muscle flexibility of the spine, hip and ankle and on speed and agility in young cross-country skiers. Twenty elite cross-country skiers – aged 12–15 years – participated in the study. Five males and five females received dance training (intervention group) and five males and five females did not dance (reference group). Joint mobility and muscle flexibility of the spine, hip and ankle joints were measured using a goniometer, a kyphometer, a measuring tape and a ruler. Two sports-related functional tests – the slalom-test and the hurdle-test – were also performed. These measurements/tests were performed before the start of the dancing period and after 3 and 8 months. The subjects from the intervention group increased their speed with 0.3 s after 3 (P = 0.05) and 8 months (P = 0.02), respectively, when measured with the slalom-test. They also improved their speed and agility according to the hurdle-test after 3 months with 0.8 s (P = 0.000) and 8 months with 0.6 s (P = 0.01). Furthermore, they increased flexion–extension of the thoracic spine with 7.5° after 3 months (P = 0.05) and with 9°° after 8 months (P = 0.03) and lateral flexion of the spine with 0.04 m (P = 0.005) and 0.03 m (P = 0.02) after 3 and 8 months, respectively. The reference group was impaired or unchanged in the studied parameters after both 3 and 8 months. We conclude that dance training has a positive effect on speed and agility and on joint mobility and muscle flexibility in flexion–extension and lateral flexion of the spine in young cross-country skiers.
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