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The Effect of a Skate Treadmill Training Intervention on Stride Mechanics
The evolution of sport performance has been supported by the development and integration of advanced training devices and practices aimed at eliciting both physiological and mechanical adaptations. The primary purpose of the study was to investigate the effect of a 12-session skate treadmill training intervention on stride mechanics in youth ice hockey players. The secondary purpose was to investigate the effect of removing the training stimulus on retention of stride mechanics adaptations as a result of training. Stride mechanics were defined by the variables: stride length (SL·mm), stride frequency (SF·Hz), and select kinematic measures of the trunk, hip, and knee angles (°). Twenty-three ice hockey players (9.7 ± 0.5 y) completed an A-B-A, within-subject, quasi-experimental training intervention. Twelve treadmill sessions were scheduled over 9 weeks. Block A was defined by sessions 1-6 and 7-12, and included pre1-post1 and pre2-post2 assessments. Block B was defined by the time between sessions 6 and 7, whereby the training intervention was removed. The duration of Block B was consistent with the time to complete Block A (sessions 1-6 and 7-12), respectfully. Pre-post assessments included, anthropometric measures of [standing and sitting height (cm), weight (kg)], vertical jump height (cm), and stride mechanics. Stride mechanics, namely SL (mm), SF (Hz), and joint angles (°), were obtained from video analysis conducted at a constant treadmill speed (10 mph) and incline (5 °). While directional changes of improvement, namely increasing SL, decreasing SF, and increased knee flexion at weight acceptance were observed pre-post training sessions 1-6, 7-12 and overall, 1-12, the changes were not significant. Significant differences in hip and knee angles following toe-off pre-post training sessions 1-6 and sessions 1-12 were revealed (p < .05). No significant differences in stride mechanics pre-post training sessions 6-7 were revealed, indicating that the improvements seen through sessions 1-6 were retained. Pearson product moment correlations revealed significant correlations between SL and trunk and hip and knee angle following toe-off at Apost1, and between SL (mm) and knee angle at weight acceptance (°) at Apost2 (p < .05).