Integrative neuromuscular training and sex-specific fitness performance in 7-year-old children: An exploratory investigation

Avery D. Faigenbaum, Gregory D. Myer, Anne Farrell, Tracy Radler, Marc Fabiano, Jie Kang, Nicholas Ratamess, Jane Khoury, Timothy E. Hewett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Context: Integrative neuromuscular training (INT) has successfully enhanced physical fitness and reduced abnormal biomechanics, which appear to decrease injury rates in adolescent female athletes. If not addressed at the proper time, low levels of physical fitness and abnormal mechanics may predispose female athletes to an increased risk of musculoskeletal injuries. Objectives: To evaluate sex-specific effects of INT on selected measures of health- and skill-related fitness in children during physical education (PE). Design: Cohort study. Setting: Public primary school. Patients or Other Participants: Forty children (16 boys, 24 girls; age = 7.6 ± 0.3 years, height = 124.5 ± 6.4 cm, mass = 29.5 ± 7.6 kg) from 2 second-grade PE classes. Intervention(s): The classes were randomized into the PE-plus-INT group (10 boys, 11 girls) or the control group (6 boys, 13 girls) that participated in traditional PE. The INT was performed 2 times per week during the first approximately 15 minutes of each PE class and consisted of body weight exercises. Main Outcome Measure(s): Push-up, curl-up, standing long jump, single-legged hop, single-legged balance, sit-andreach flexibility test, shuttle run, and 0.8-km run. Results: At baseline, the boys demonstrated higher levels of performance in most of the fitness measurements as evidenced by greater performance on the push-up, standing long jump, single-legged hop, shuttle run, and 0.8-km run (P < .05). In the evaluation of the training effects, we found intervention effects in the girls for enhanced INT-induced gains in performance relative to the control group on the curl-up, long jump, single-legged hop, and 0.8-km run (P < .05) after controlling for baseline. Boys did not demonstrate similar adaptations from the INT program (P ≥ .05). Conclusions: These data indicate that INT is an effective and time-efficient addition to PE for enhancing motor skills and promoting physical activity in children. Seven-year-old girls appeared to be more sensitive to the effects of INT than 7-yearold boys. Future research is warranted to confirm these effects in larger cohorts of children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-153
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of athletic training
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2014


  • Fundamental movement skills
  • Motor development
  • Physical education
  • Plyometrics
  • Strength training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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