14 January 2016
Running biomechanics, Lower limb strength and power
Recruitment site location(s) (State)
Anticipated date of first participant enrolment
18 January 2016
Ethics application status
Background: Ultra-endurance and adventure racing are increasingly becoming popular with recreational and elite athletes. These athletes routinely carry some form of external loads, to transport various equipment for survival, navigation and sustenance. It has been well reported that load carriage impairs gait performance, with subsequent training studies conducted to identify if gait performance improved. However, most of these training studies were not of a randomized, controlled trials design, and they were largely conducted within the military setting. More importantly, exercise selections within current studies have not been based on known neuromuscular demands involved in load carriage gait patterns. Previous studies on load carriage in running have identified potential adaptive and mal-adaptive biomechanical alterations when load is imposed on running. Adaptive mechanical alterations are changes whose functions are to needed to sustain running speed, enhance postural control, support an increased weight and absorb shock. Mal-adaptive alterations are changes which could heighten the risk of incurring injuries, and reduce gait performance. It is hypothesized that a neuromuscular training that is targeted to known neuromuscular demands of load carriage running would compare better than a generic strength training program in improving load carriage running mechanics.
Methods: This study will be a two-arm, parallel randomized controlled trial with single assessor blinding. 30 healthy runners, aged 18 to 60 years, will be enrolled. The total duration of this study is 8 weeks, broken up into two phases. In the first phase, participants will undergo a common two weeks familiarization training sessions. They will undergo a pre and post biomechanics and strength testing assessment. A permuted block randomization procedure will be used as participants will be stratified based on gender (male/female). Allocation will be concealed using sealed-opaque envelopes. After baseline assessments, participants will be randomized into either a targeted or a general neuromuscular training program. Both programs will involve three supervised sessions per week for six weeks. A mid assessment will be conducted during the 3rd week with regards to maximal jumps and hops.
Statistical analysis: Baseline demographic variables will be compared using parametric and non-parametric tests, where appropriate. Descriptive statistics (mean and standard deviation) will be calculated. A linear mixed model will be used to identify between group and within group by time changes in discrete dependent variables. Statistical Parametric Mapping will be used to identify between and within group by time changes in time-continuous dependent variables. Statistical inference will be made at a family wise error rate of a = 0.05.