Bilateral practice improves dominant leg performance in long jump


Benefits of bilateral practice both for the non-dominant and for the dominant body side have been shown in several studies. Thereby, most of the studies included movement tasks of the upper extremity or investigated sports games in which the ability of acting bilaterally is an essential basis for success and, thus, a bilateral practice is reasonable anyway. Individual unilaterally performed sports including movement tasks of the lower extremity are rarely investigated. Therefore, the aim of our study was to test if contralateral transfer due to bilateral practice can be found in an unilaterally performed sport including the lower extremity. We trained and tested 61 adolescent athletes in long jump to compare the jumping performance of the dominant leg after a 12-week practice period between two groups: a bilateral practice group that practiced specific long jump exercises with both the dominant and non-dominant leg and an unilateral practice group that practiced specific long jump exercises only with the dominant leg. Results showed a superior effect of bilateral practice compared to unilateral practice regarding the jumping performance of the dominant leg. The performance increase at post-test and retention-test for the dominant limb was significantly higher for the bilateral practice group (pre-to-post: 5.2%, pre-to-retention: 7.4%) compared to the unilateral practice group (pre-to-post: 3.4%, pre-to-retention: 4.5%). Thus, bilateral practice should be established in the early practice programmes of track and field athletes to improve the performance of the dominant take-off leg. 

Autor / Fonte:Anne Focke, Sina Spancken, Christian Stockinger, Benjamin Thürer, Thorsten Stein European Journal of Sport Science 2016 February 10, : 1-7