Date of Award

8-2020

Degree Type

Creative Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Kinesiology and Health Science

First Advisor

Brennan Thompson

Second Advisor

Breanna Studenka

Third Advisor

Eadric Bressel

Abstract

Flywheel training has been shown to be beneficial for improving a multitude of muscle function and performance parameters, but its short-term training effects on athletic performance have yet to be established. PURPOSE: To investigate the effects of four weeks of flywheel squat training on lower body muscle function adaptations and sport-specific performance in collegiate club water polo players. METHODS: Thirteen men and women who participated in collegiate club water polo performed flywheel squat training twice a week for four weeks. Isokinetic knee extension peak power (PP) and peak torque (PT), flywheel squat peak power (FPP) and mean power (FMP), countermovement jump (CMJ), in-water jump height (WJH) and foot speed were assessed at Pre1 (0 weeks), Pre2 (4 weeks), and Post (8 weeks). Throughout the training period, muscle soreness was assessed with a visual analog scale every session, and FPP and FMP were assessed during sessions 2, 4, 6, and 8. RESULTS: Isokinetic PP (ES = .65) and PT (ES = .67) increased significantly from Pre1 to Post, and FPP and FMP increased between Pre2 and Post (ES = 1.1, 1.0 respectively), and Pre1 and Post (ES = .79, .82). CMJ and foot speed were not changed, and WJH displayed a significant change between Pre1 and Post (ES = 0.4). FPP increased 19% from session 2 to 4 and FMP increased 27% from session 2 to 6, and each remained elevated through session 8. Muscle soreness peaked at session 2 but tapered off by session 3. CONCLUSIONS: Four weeks of flywheel squat training in collegiate club water polo players elicited large gains (47-52%, Effect Size = ~1.0) in flywheel specific squat power, but did not influence sport-specific performance measures including CMJ, WJH, and foot speed. Water-based exercises and stretch-shortening cycle movements (plyometrics) in combination with effective resistance training programs, including flywheel-based training, are likely needed for marked sport skill improvements, along with longer-term training studies.

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