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n International SportMed Journal - Comparison of sagittal spinal curvatures and hamstring muscle extensibility among young elite paddlers and non-athletes : original research article
Background: Sagittal spinal curvatures may be influenced by specific and repetitive sport training.
Research question: To compare the sagittal spinal curvatures and hamstring muscle extensibility between paddlers and non-athletes. Type of study: descriptive and comparative. Methods: Participants: Sixty-five junior paddlers (23 female kayakers, 22 male kayakers and 20 male canoeists) and 44 non-athletes (control group: 22 males and 22 females) between 13-14 years. Main measures of outcome: Thoracic and lumbar angles while relaxed standing and in maximal forward bending with knees extended (sit and reach test) were measured with a Unilevel inclinometer. Hamstring muscle extensibility was also measured using the straight leg raise in both legs. Results: No differences were found in thoracic angle among groups in standing, except between females / males kayakers and females / males controls. Standing lumbar angle was greater in control groups than in their respective paddlers groups (p < 0.01). The paddlers reached greater lumbar and thoracic angles in the sit-and-reach tests than controls (p < 0.001). The paddlers reached similar straight leg raise angles than their respective control group. Conclusions: Specific and repetitive training of elite young paddlers does not influence thoracic standing posture, although it may produce a reduced lumbar lordosis in standing and greater thoracic and lumbar bending in maximal forward flexion The discipline of paddling (kayak or canoe) does not influence sagittal spinal curvatures in young male paddlers. The position and movements of paddling do not appear to have any influence in the hamstring muscle extensibility because the paddlers have similar extensibility than the non-athlete subjects.
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