Objectives The appropriateness of neuromuscular training exercises across different age groups has not yet been investigated, particularly in younger children. The purpose of this study was to determine which neuromuscular training exercises can be performed with proper neutral alignment in various age groups.
Methods Seven exercises were selected for evaluation in children ranging from 8 to 17 years of age who were recruited from schools and youth sports organisations. Participants completed two trials of each exercise and were judged on maintaining neutral body alignment after receiving visual/verbal instruction on the first trial and feedback cues on the second trial. Three evaluators judged each exercise, which was deemed as correct when at least two evaluators agreed that neutral alignment was maintained. Comparisons were made across ages and between sex using the χ² test or Fisher’s exact test. The proportions of participants who performed the exercise correctly were also compared before and after feedback cues were provided.
Results A total of 360 participants were evaluated (8–11 years: 165, 54% female; 12–15 years: 136, 40% female, 16–17 years: 59, 53% female). There were no significant differences in performance across ages and sex for nearly all exercises. The majority of children were not able to complete the exercises with proper alignment. The use of feedback cues significantly increased the proportion of participants who correctly completed the exercise (p<0.001).
Conclusions These results demonstrate the importance of training coaches and physical education teachers to provide cues that reinforce proper technique during anterior cruciate ligament injury prevention exercises. Children should perform common neuromuscular training exercises with feedback on proper technique.
Level of evidence IV (case series).
- anterior cruciate ligament
Statistics from Altmetric.com
Contributors DIL was responsible for conceptualisation, data curation, methodology, statistical analysis, project administration, supervision and writing the manuscript. CB was responsible for data curation, methodology, project administration, supervision and reviewing the manuscript. JJ was responsible for conceptualisation, data curation, methodology, project administration, supervision and reviewing the manuscript. BC was responsible for data curation, data curation, statistical analysis and reviewing the manuscript. NR was responsible for data curation, methodology, project administration, supervision and reviewing the manuscript. JK was responsible for conceptualisation, methodology, supervision and reviewing the manuscript. RGM was responsible for conceptualisation, methodology, supervision and reviewing the manuscript.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Ethics approval This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board (#2016–855).
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement Data are available on reasonable request.
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.