Differential training effects on dynamic postural stability in single leg balance

Ruperto Menayo, A. Encarnación, G.m. Gea and P.j. Marcos

Faculty of Sports Sciences and Physical Activity, Catholic University, Murcia, Spain


Menayo, R., Encarnación, A., Gea, G., Marcos, P. (2014). Differential training effects on dynamic postural stability in single leg balance. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 45(5), 452-468. doi:10.7352/IJSP.2014.45.452


Differential training considers fluctuations in motor patterns as decisive variables able to explain the adaptations generated in the learner’s technical execution of motor skills. Variable practice allows the athlete to explore his motor-perceptive landscape in search of new coordination patterns that would lead him to find the most adequate technique to develop the motor response. The aim of this research was to identify the effects of unipedal support on postural stability by differential training with BOSU® Balance Trainer versus traditional training routines on stiff surfaces. 13 people took part in this study and they were randomly distributed into two training groups: i) stiff surface training group (N=7) and ii) BOSU® Balance Trainer training group (N=6). Dynamical stability indices, obtained by a force-platform that registered the ground reaction forces, were analysed at five points of time : pre-test, post-test -carried out after 16 training sessions- and 3 retention-tests, applied in the short, medium and long term. Both training methods showed a trend towards improvement in the post-tests. However, the results show significant differences (p≤.05) in the dynamic indices of postural stability in the retention tests in favour of the group that trained over a stiff surface versus BOSU®. These results can be related to the absence of stimuli similar to the ones provided by the soft-ball training in everyday movements.

Keywords: Differential training, unipedal balance, dynamic postural index