Posts tagged proprioception
Improved Glut Muscle Activation Noted with TRX Lunge vs. Traditional Lunge

Performing traditional strength training movements with an added component of instability has long been know to change the recruitment of muscles.  The unstable nature of the exercise enhances position sense (proprioception), balance, and joint stabilization during each repetition.  Previous research recommends using stable surfaces and exercises when the goal is optimal strength and power development.  In contrast, utilizing unstable surfaces is appropriate for joint stabilization, injury risk reduction, and more sport specific demands.

Krause and colleagues examined the muscle recruitment patterns between a traditional and suspension lunge exercise (Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2018).  The authors analyzed lower body muscle recruitment during the movements.  They found greater recruitment of the gluteus medius and maximum, as well as, hip adductors in the suspended lunge compared to the traditional lunge.  Surprisingly, they found no difference in quadriceps recruitment between the two conditions.  The increased hip recruitment demonstrates the increased stability requirements during the suspension lunge.  

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Increased Ankle Stiffness Reduces Proprioception and Balance

Injuries to our spinal and extremity joints can impact a variety of structures including muscle, ligament, and nervous system receptors.  The sensors or proprioceptors are critical in providing real time feedback to our spinal cord and brain on the positions of our limbs.  This feedback system is disrupted by injury leading to slower information processing and in turn a loss of balance.  Most commonly this cascade is seen in patients with ankle sprain.  Without balance training and physical therapy our proprioceptive system remains impaired.

A recent study in the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy (Rocha Marinho, H. et al. 2017) examined the proprioceptive and balance abilities of patients complaining of ankle joint instability and their uninjured peers.  The authors also evaluated the passive movement in the subjects ankles.  Consistent with previous research the patients complaining of ankle instability demonstrated the worst proprioception or balance.  Those with limited ankle mobility and higher levels of stiffness demonstrated reduced balance or proprioceptive ability.  This research highlights the importance of retraining the nervous system after joint and muscle injury.  
For more information on proprioception training contact your local Physical Therapist.