Background Kettlebell squats, holding the kettlebell in front of body, such as goblet squats (GS) can increase range of squat motion. However, the effects of GS variations on postural balance, hip kinematics and their relationship with underlying postural restrictions are not known.
Objective The purpose of this study was to determine the best kettlebell squat exercise variation for improving the strength and postural balance while preserving anterior pelvic tilt for low back health of the athletes with different dorsiflexion range of motion (DFROM) capacities.
Design Single session repeated - measurement
Setting Sport Health Laboratory.
Participants 32 male athletes (22,1 ± 1,8 years; 177,7± 5,1cm; 73,3 ± 5,4kg; Training years: 4.9±2.2) were included in this study.
Main Outcome Measurements Athletes performed 8 different squat positions on the force platform. Balance measurements were recorded at 100 Hz for 30 seconds. Kettlebell equipment which was 8 kg, was held (1) close to the trunk (elbows flexed) (GS-EF) and held away from the trunk (elbow extended) (GS-EE) during the goblet squat. Digital inclinometer was used to measure pelvic tilt angle.
Results Postural balance parameters (COP area and antero-posterior sway) during GS-EF were significantly lower in both squat and split squat positions in the dominant leg (p <0.001). However, it was found that posterior pelvic tilt was lower with GS-EE compared to GS-EF, which shows that athletes maintained their neutral lordosis better with GS-EE. In addition, the athletes with lower DFROM posterior tilted more with GS-EF (p <0.01). Posterior pelvic tilt was lower during split GS compared to bilateral GS, meaning athletes stayed closer to their neutral lumbar lordosis during split GS (p <0.05).
Conclusions Athletes with restricted DFROM could incorprate regular or split GS-EE exercises for minimize the low back injury risk. Additionally, higher postural sway during GS-EE may indicate a need for higher activation of core muscles. Therefore, GS-EE exercises could also develop core muscles that have protective mechanism on low back.
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