Background: Post-Activation Potentiation (PAP) is a novel warm-up method that has been shown to improve sports performance. This study aims to investigate the acute impact of this method on semi-dynamic balance during gait on the balance beam among 9-12-year-old girl gymnasts in Kerman city.
Methods: Twenty healthy gymnasts volunteered to participate (height: 138.1±5.04 cm; mass: 40.7±3.12 kg), and were randomly divided into two equal sub-groups. Participants attended the laboratory on two separate days, with a 48-hour time interval between each visit. On the first day, the first sub-group performed a general warm-up (GWU), while the second sub-group performed a PAP warm-up. On the second day, the first sub-group switched to a PAP warm-up, while the second sub-group switched to a GWU. After a two-minute rest period, participants walked on the balance beam while their movements were recorded using six motion analyser cameras, which captured the kinematic data of shoulder, thigh, knee, and ankle joints. The data was processed using a low-pass Butterworth filter and analysed through one-way ANOVA and paired t-tests.
Results: The results showed significant differences in shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle joints positions in proximal-distal movements between GWU and PAP warm-ups (p≤0.001). In addition, PAP caused significant decrease in shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle joints positions in medial-lateral movements as compared to GWU (p≤0.001, p≤0.001, p≤0.038,p≤0.001, respectively).
Conclusions: PAP warm-up has a positive effect on semi-dynamic balance factors in gymnasts. Given the importance of balance in gymnastics, PAP warm-up is recommended to improve sports performance in this field.