Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
from September 2014
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2012) 11, 468 - 474

Research article
The Effect of Instability Training on Knee Joint Proprioception and Core Strength
Mutlu Cuğ1, Emre Ak2, Recep Ali Özdemir3, Feza Korkusuz2, David G Behm4, 
Author Information
1 Physical Education and Sports Department, Cumhuriyet University, Sivas, Turkey
2 Middle East Technical University, Pysical Education and Sports, Ankara
3 Center for Neuromotor and Biomechanics Research and Department of Health & Human Performance, University of Houston, Houston, USA
4 School of Human Kinetics and Recreation Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s Newfoundland, Canada

David G Behm
✉ School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s Newfoundland Canada A1M 3L8
Publish Date
Received: 20-04-2012
Accepted: 07-06-2012
Published (online): 01-09-2012
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Although there are many studies demonstrating increased trunk activation under unstable conditions, it is not known whether this increased activation would translate into meaningful trunk strength with a prolonged training program. Additionally, while balance-training programs have been shown to improve stability, their effect on specific joint proprioception is not clear. Thus the objective of this study was to examine training adaptations associated with a 10-week instability-training program. Participants were tested pre- and post-training for trunk extension and flexion strength and knee proprioception. Forty-three participants participated in either a 10-week (3 days per week) instability-training program using Swiss balls and body weight as resistance or a control group (n = 17). The trained group increased (p < 0. 05) trunk extension peak torque/body weight (23.6%) and total work output (20.1%) from pre- to post-training while the control group decreased by 6.8% and 6.7% respectively. The exercise group increased their trunk flexion peak torque/body weight ratios by 18.1% while the control group decreased by 0.4%. Knee proprioception (combined right and left joint repositioning) improved 44.7% from pre- to post-training (p = 0.0006) and persisted (21.5%) for 9 months post-training. In addition there was a side interaction with the position sense of the right knee at 9 months showing 32.1% (p = 0.03) less deviation from the reference angle than the right knee during pre-testing. An instability-training program using Swiss balls with body weight as resistance can provide prolonged improvements in joint proprioception and core strength in previously untrained individuals performing this novel training stress which would contribute to general health.

Key words: Instability resistance training, stability, back, abdominals

           Key Points
  • Although traditional free weight resistance exercises have been recommended as most beneficial for improving strength and power in athletes (Behm et al., ), an IT program using Swiss balls and body weight as a resistance may provide an alternative starting point for the sedentary untrained population.
  • As it is well documented that force or strength is decreased when unbalanced (Behm et al., ) and balance-training programs improve balance (Behm and Kean ), this type of instability RT program can provide significant adaptations to improve trunk strength especially with the untrained.
  • This type of training should also be incorporated into a new program as the improvements in joint proprioception may help protect from joint injuries over a protracted period.
  • The finding that improved joint proprioception persists for months after training should be emphasized to those individuals whose training is regularly or inconsistently interrupted.
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