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Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 2004, 18(4), 695-702 2004 National Strength & Conditioning Association

UPPER-BODY POWER AS MEASURED BY MEDICINEBALL THROW DISTANCE AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO CLASS LEVEL AMONG 10- AND 11-YEAR-OLD FEMALE PARTICIPANTS IN CLUB GYMNASTICS
MARIA A. SALONIA,' DONALD A. CHU,=^ PHILIP M . CHEIFETZ,-* AND GAIL C . FREIDH(JFI''*

'South Bay Sports and Physical Therapy, Copiaque, New York 11726, and Program in Sports Physical Therapy, Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions, Provo, Utah 84603; -Stanford Sports Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305; -^Nassau Community College, Garden City. New York 11530; 'Sports Physical Therapy, KY Clinic, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KEntucky 40536.
Salonia, M,. D.A. Chu. P, Cheifetz, and G. Freidhoff. Upper-body power as measured by medicine-ball throw distance and its relationship to class level among 10- and 11-year-old female participants in club gymnastics. J. Strength Cond. Res. 18I4):000-000. 2004.The purpose of tbis study was to determine whether or not a relationship existed between upper-body power and class level among female club gymnasts. Sixty female gyinnastB between the ages of 10 and 11 and between class levels 5 and 8 participated in the study. The distance of a medicineball throw was used to measure upper-body power. Three types of throwsoverhead forward throw, overhead backward throw, and chest passwere performed with a 6-lb rubber medicine ball. Tbe mean distances of 2 trails were calculated and categorized into age group and class level. An analysis of variance design was used to determine the relationship between mean throw distances and throw type, age, and class level. No significant differences were found between mean throw distances and throw type, age, or class level. The results of this study show no relationship between upper-body power of female gymnasts and throw type, age, and class level.
ABSTRACT. KEY WORDS,

field testing, plyometrics, strength

INTRODUCTION

lyometrics are muscle contractions that use a prestretch and result in a maximal force development and increased speed of movement (3). In the early literature, plyometrics focused mainly on lower-extremity power training (1, 6). Numerous studies established the effectiveness of plyometric exercises in improving power in the lower extremities (1-4). In the early 1990s, articles hegan to appear in the literature discussing the use and effectiveness of plyometric training in the upper extremities. Many citations in the literature mention medicine balls as a common form of upper-extremity plyometric training (2, 4, 5, 14). The throws seen in plyometric medicine-ball training are the chest pass, overhead forward throw, and overhead backward throw. The chest pass is most commonly used to train sports such as tennis, baseball, and track and field (31. The overhead forward throw can be used for training of sports including softball, baseball, soccer, and gymnastics (17, 20). The overhead backward throw ireverse overhead) is used in training baseball pitching, tennis, and gymnastics (7, 18, 20). Medicine balls are also used for testing upper-body power (8, 11, 12, 22-24). Stockbrugger and Haennel (22)

and Viitasalo (23) found tbe medicine-ball throw test to be a valid and reliable test for assessing power. Medicineball throw testing requires supei"vision hut can he performed quickly and easily. The only equipment required are a medicine hall and tape measure. It is a cost-effective, quick measurement of upper-extremity power. A review of the literature does not reveal a universal medicine-ball weight to use when performing a test. Kbhen et al. (9) are the only researchers who quantify how to determine the weight of the medicine ball. They recommend 30'/^! of a 1 repetition maximum bench press as the appropriate weight. Viitasalo (23) found ligbter loads of the medicine ball were more reliable measurements of throw distance, The most common weight described in the literature is a 6-Ib medicine ball (2, 3, 18, 20). Although shown to be a reliable test for upper-extremity power, easy to administer, and one of the first tests used, the medicine-hall throw testing lacks normative data in the literature. Aussprung et al. (2) reported that college football players who used an ll-lb medicine hall threw an average of 19-22 ft, and those who used a 5-Ib medicine ball threw an average of 26-29 ft. Female college athletes from various sports threw a 5-lb medicine ball an average of 9-12 ft. A chest pass in tbe seated position on the floor was the only throw measured. Roetert and Ellenbecker (19) measured junior and adult tennis players. Junior-player norms are based on data collected from nationally and regionally ranked male and female players who are 18 years old or younger. Adult-player norms are based on male and female tennis players who are 25 years old or older. Forehand, backhand, overhead forward, and reverse medicine-ball tosses were measured. The throw distance with a 6-lb medicine ball was categorized into "excellent, good, average, and needs improvement." The junior female overhead medicine-hall toss was greater than 23 ft in the "excellent" rank with an average of 15-19 ft. The female junior reverse (backward) overhead toss was greater than 34ft,in the "excellent" rank with an average of 20-27 ft. Unlike Aussprung, Roetert and Ellenbecker measured the medicine-ball throws in standing. Todd Ellenbecker, a tennis expert and member of the U.S. Tennis Association, reported unpublished norms (19). Over 500 ranked male and female tennis players were grouped in 2 categories: "13 and under" and "14695

696

SALONIA, CHU, CHEIFETZ KT AL.

TABLK 1. Throw distance (inches) of pilot study,'


Gymnast no.

OF

P
155 140 168 183 84 62

Tl
163

T2
169 136 181 180 82

P
163

OB Tl
223 123

CP
T2
226 155 198 160 81 42 20 55 27 35 22

P
148

Tl
167

T2
159

1 2
3

127
182

4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

172 95
62

54
41 53

31 45
50 40 35 97 76 74 82 105 68

37
49 42

42
45 36

40 35
106 85

103 87
69 70 96 61 110 151

155 195 97 71 36 18 28 38 32 13 67 58
33 56

129
161 147 87 66 6 36 48 33 53

202 164 94 18 19 28 20 35

149 175
155 95 62 7 36

158
169 156 93 59 42 44

53
35 46 95 101

28
101 32 68 34 103 44 106 114 134 121 195 102 93 136

48 47 41
108 106 92 83

122
60 62 83 81 44

97
81

70 81
96 62 106 138 131 115

81
61 82 59

79
64 86 69 97 132 130 118 165 158 79 142

75 34
102 92

18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25

97
134 120 927 125 144

123
108

91
124

110 61 94
119

135
135

139 147
108

136
148 93 133

127 117 169


118 89 120

121
91 187 124 105 138

126
109 164 132 84 105

129
117 170 164 87 127

91
126

124

OF = overhead forward throw; OB = overhead backward throw; CP = chest pa.ss; p = practice; Tl = trial 1; T2 = trial 2. 16." The chest pass was performed with a 6-lb medicine ball from a seated position with the back supported against a fence. Girls aged 13 and under threw an average distance of 14 ft, whereas girls aged 14-16 threw an average distance of 15.5 ft. Boys 14 and under threw an average of 17 ft, whereas boys aged 16 and under threw an average of 21 ft. Sands (21) measured throwing distances of 9- to 11year-old female gymnasts. Both overhead forward and overhead backward medicine-ball throws were used and were measured with a 6-lb medicine ball thrown from a standing position. The 9-year-old girls threw an average of 10 ft and 9.5 ft, the 10-year-oId girls threw an average of 12 ft and 12,5 ft. and the 11-year-oId girls threw an average of 13 and 14 ft in the overhead forward and overhead backward throws, respectively. Sands found a significant difference between tbe 10- and tbe 11-year-old girls. Tbe distance increased with age, and the overhead forward and overhead backward tosses were closely related. However, there was no consideration of class level. Tbe class level classifies the gymnasts by ability and rank. Class level 1 is tbe lowest level and is wbere new gymnasts begin. Gymnasts rise in class level as tbey improve and new skills are attained. Class level 5 is the point at which gymnasts will begin to compete. During a meet or competition, gymnasts must reach a predetermined total score to qualify to move up to the next level. Tbe total score is tbe sum of each of the scores dunng performance on each apparatus (floor exercise, uneven parallel bars, balance benm, and vaulting). Tbe highest class level is 10, which consists of state-, national-, and Olympic-ranked gymnasts. The skills performed by eacb gymnast arc tbe determining factor of class level, and age is not a factor. Gymnastics bas become a sport of almost exclusively children and adolescents, yet gymnastic training is physically demanding (23). Although strength plays an important role in women's gymnastics, gymnastics is more of a power-dominated sport (15). Success in gymnastics depends on the gymnast's ability to generate maximum strength at a high velocity (speed) during each particular skill. Power should be considered training and testing of gymnasts. Currently, notbing in the literature supports any valid measurement of upper-extremity power of female gymnasts and how it relates to class level. Identifying normative data on upper-body power for 10- and 11-year-oid female gymnasts will help develop criteria for identification and development of talent, physical status of population, identification of weaknesses and strengths of upper extremities, safe progression to more difficult skills or to advance skill levels, safe return to gymnastics after upper-extremity injury, and the identification of successful upper-extremity training programs.
METHODS

Experimental Approach to the Problem The 3 hypotheses tested were that (a) no significant difference was in the mean throw distance for each class level, (b) no significant difference was in tbe mean tbrow distance for each age group, and (c) no significant difference was in the mean tbrow distance for eacb type of throw. The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not a relationship existed between upper-body power and class level, age. and tbj-ow type among 10- and 11year-old female club gymnasts. The gymnasts threw 1 practice throw and 2 test throws. Tbe distance of the throws were recorded and used to represent a measurement of power. Power, age, tbrow type, and class level

Mi Die INF BALL, POWER, AND GYMNASUCS

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TABLE 2. ^test results of the pilot study.* N Mean SD SEM Two-sample f-test and confidenee interval Two sample /-test for OF-1 vs. OF-2 OF-1 24 99.5 44.4 9.1 OF-2 24 100.5 46.6 9.5 95*?! CI for (I. OF-1 and jx OF-2: (-27.5, 25.4) /-test OF-1 = p. OF-2 (vs. not - ) : T = -0.08 p - 0.B4 df = 46 Two-sample Mest for OB-1 vs. OB-2 OB-1 24 91.7 61.5 13 OB-2 24 97.2 57,6 12 95% CI for ^J. OB-1 and (x OB-2: - 4 0 , 29) Mest M - OB-1 = ^ L OB-2 (vs. not =): T = -0.32 p = 0.75 rf/ = 46 Two-sample ^test for CP-1 vs. CP-2 CP-1 24 98.0 47.7 9.7 CP-2 24 100.7 46.4 9.5 95% CI for ^l CP-1 and M - CP-2: (-30,0, 24.7) ^test M-CP-1 = |x CP-2 (vs. not = ) : T - -0.20 p = 0.S5 df = 46 * OF-1 = overhead forward throw, trial 1; OF-2 = overhead forward throw, trial 2; SD = standard deviation; SEM standard error of the mean; CI = confidence interval; OB-1 = overhead backward throw, trial 1: OB'2 = overhead backward thntw; trials 2; CP-1 = chest past, trial 1, CP-2 = chest past, trial 2.

FIGURE

1. Overhead forward throw position.

were statistically analyzed to determine their relationship. Pilot Study A pilot study was performed to test and practice the procedures outlined for data collection. Twenty-five noncompetitive (class levels 1-4) female gymnasts ages 4-11 participated in the pilot study. The pilot study results are recorded in Tahle 1. A 2-sampIe t-test was calculated hased on the pilot study data. The mean throw distance of trial 1, x-,-,, was compared with the mean throw distance of trial 2,X7,,. The null hypothesis was that the mean distance of throw trial 1 was equal to the mean distance of trail throw 2, //<,: p,.j.i ^ fly-;. The null hypothesis was tested at tx = 5%. The results indicated that the null hypothesis could not be rejected. Therefore, no difference was between the mean distance of throw trial 1 and throw trial 2 for each type of throw (see Table 2). Subjects The subjects were 60 female gymnasts who were recruited from local cluh teams on Long Island, NY. Fifteen subjects were placed in each class level. The inclusion criteria were competitive female club gymnasts between the ages of 10 and 11 and class levels 5-8. Gymnasts were excluded from the study if they did not return a signed permission slip from a parent or legal guardian the day of the test- The gymnasts were injury free in the upper extremities. The presence of an injury was determined by complaints of symptoms that prohibited the gymnast from performing upper-extremity skills. The gymnastics clubs were randomly selected. The coach was contacted to determine interest in participation. The order of the gymnasts participating and the selection of the type of throw were randomized. The gymnasts' rights were protected by Rocky Mountain University's Internal Review Board and obtained before the start of the investigation.

Protocol of Data Collection 1. Eacb gymnast's age and class level were recorded. If the gymnast had no knowledge of her class level, her gymnastics coach determined the class level. 2. Each gymnast was assigned a number. The table of random numbers was used to determine the gymnasts' order of throw. 3. The name of each thi'ow was placed on a slip of paper and placed in a container. The gymnast',s coach blindly drew 1 slip of paper for each gymnast tested. 4. Each gymnast stood at the throwing line on a stencil of feet that were secured to the floor by adhesive tape. 5. The exact procedure was explained to each gymnast. The principal investigator read a script from an index card. The script is shown below: A. Overhead forward"You are about to peribrni an overhead forward pass. When I say go, you will lift the medicine ball over your head and throw it forward as far as you can. Aim at the target. Each person in the gi'oup will take a turn. You will have 1 practice and 2 throws with a 2-minute rest between each throw. Do you understand? Any questions?" B. Overhead hackward"You are about to perform an overhead backward pass. Face your back to the target and when I say go, you will lift the medicine ball over your head and throw it backward as far as you can. Aim al the larget. Each person in the group will take a turn. You will have 1 practice and 2 throws with a 2-minute rest between each throw. Do you understand? Any questions?" C. Chest pass"You are about to perform a chest pass. When 1 say go, you will lift the medicine ball to your chest and throw it forward as far as you can. Aim al the target. Each person in the group will take a turn. You will have 1 practice and 2 throws with a 2-minute rest between each throw. Do you understand? Any questions?" A 6-Ib rubber medicine ball, 9-in. diameter, was dampened in a bucket of water. Each gymnast held the medicine hall in hoth hands with arms relaxed and then quickly threw the bull forward toward the target. Figures 1-3 represent overhead forward throw, overhead backward throw, and chest pass positions, respectively. The distance of the throw was recorded to the closest one-quarter inch. The 2-minute rest time was measured with a stopwatch. Steps 4-9 were repeated for each trial.

6.

7. 8. 9.

698

SALONIA, CHU, CHEIFETZ ET AL. TABLE 3. Age, class level, throw type, and mean distance of each gymnast.*

Age
G y m n a s t no. (years)

Class level 1 1 1

Throw type 1

Distance (in.) 4.18 3.43 3.33 3.21 2.75 3.15 4.27 4.34 2.74 3.71 2.67 3.69 2.85 3.03 3.83 3.54 3.44 3.51 3.83 2.72 3.79 4.05 3.26 3.30 3.60 3.86 3.50 3.75 4.88 3.58 3.90 4.71 3.10 4.07 3.46 3.18 3.24 3.70 3.33 3.78 4.05 4.05 4.56 4.56 3.18 6.03 3.50 4.29 3.39 4.07 3.81 3.86 3.19 3.27 3.44 3.48 3.10 4.01 3.55 3.75

(m)
164.75 135.13 131.00 126.25 108.13 124.13 168.25 166.75 107.75 146.13 105.25 145.25 112.25 119.13 150.75 139.25 135.38 138.25 150.63 107.25 149.38 159.38 128.25 129.88 141.63 151.88 137.88 147.75 192.13 140.75 153.63 185.38 122.13 160.25 136.38 125.38 127.75 145.63 131.13 148.75 159.38 159.63 179.50 179.38 125.13 237.25 137.75 168.88 133.50 160.13 149.88 152.13 125.63 128.88 135.50 137.00 122.13 158.13 139.75 147.75

1
2 3

10

10
10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 11 11 11 11

2
3 1 2 3 1

4 5
6

2 2 2
1

7
8 9

1
1

2 3
1 2 3 1

10
11 12

2 2 2
1

F1GI.JRE 2. Overhead backward throw position.

13

14
16 16 17
18 19

1
1

2
3 1

2 2 2
1

2 3
1

20 21 22 23

1
1

2
3

24
25 26 27 28 29 30
31

2 2 2 1 1 1 2 2
2 1

1
2 3 1

2
3 1 2 3 1 2

32 33
FIGURE

1 1
2

3
1 2 3

3. Chest pass throw position.

34

The raw data were used to calculate the mean distance for each throw, they included the total number of 10- and 11-year-oid gymnasts who participated in the study, and they were grouped by age, class level, and throw type. The means of the dependent variables were calculated. Statistical Analyses An analysis of variance (ANOVA) 2 x 2 x 3 factorial design was used to determine the relationship between mean throw distance and class level, mean throw distance and age, and mean throw distance and type of throw. The ANOVA table was also provided with interaction terms, which provide a relationship between the throw, class level, and age. The following relationships were examined: relationship between age and class level, relationship between age and class throw type, and relationship between class and throw type. Null hypothesis 1: There is no significant difference in mean throw distance for class level, i.e., //; ix^v^ = ^-^i^, where \L^i^ = mean distance of throw of class levels 5 and 6 1X7^ ^ mean distance of throw of class levels 7 and 8.

35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 46 46 47
48 49 50 51 52 53

11
11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11

2 2 1 1

1
2
2

1 2 3
1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2

2 1 1

1
2 2
2 1

11
11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11

54 55
56

1 1 2 2 2
1

1 1 3 58 1 2 59 2 2 60 2 3 ' Level 1 = class level 5 and 6; level 2 = class level 7 and 8; throw type 1 = overhead forward throw; throw type 2 = overhead backward throw; throw type 3 = chest pass. 57

MEDICINE BALL, POWER, AND GYMNASTICS

699

TABLE 4. Throw means categorized by age, class level, and throw type.'^' Levels 7 and 8 Levels 5 and 6
OF OB CP OF OB CP

mean throw distance for throw type, i.e, H^. [LOF = (Jk)B= where fio/.- ^ mean distance of overhead forward throw lifii) = mean distance of overhead backward throw \X(,c ^ mean distance of overhead chest pass.
RESULTS

Age 10 y 164,75 135.13 131.00 168.25 166.75 107.75 112.25 119.13 150.75 150.63 107.25 149.38 14L63 151.88 137.88 Age 11 y 153.63 185.38 122.13 127.75 145.63 131.13 179.50 179.38 125.13 133.50 160.13 149,88 135.50 137.00 122,13 * OF = overhead forward throw; throw; CP = chest pass.

126.25 108.13 124.13 146.13 105.25 145.25 139.25 135.38 138.25 159.38 128.25 129.88 147.75 192.13 140.75 160.25 136.38 125,38 148.75 159.38 159.63 237.25 137.75 168.88 152.13 125,63 128.88 158.13 139.75 147.75 OB - overhead backward

Null hypothesis 2: There is no significant difference in mean throw distance for age g^roups, i.e., H,,: (i^o ^ l^-iu where ^10 = mean distance of throw of 10-year-old girls |Xii ^ mean distance of throw of 11-year-oId girls. Null hypothesis 3: There is no significant difference in TABLE 5. Descriptive statistics. Age (years)
10

Sixty 10- and 11-year-oId female gymnasts were randomly tested from 16 gymnastic clubs. Gymnasts were not tested if they were absent the day of testing or did not have their permission slip signed by a parent or guardian. The gymnasts tested were from class levels 5-8. Each gymnast performed 1 practice and 2 trial throws for 1 type of throw. The mean of trial i and trial 2 were calculated and are presented in Table 3. The mean throw distances categorized by age, class level, and throw type are presented in Table 4. Descriptive statistics for age, class level, and thj'ow types are summarized in Table 5. Descriptive statistics for distance in relation to throw type, distance in relation to age, and distance in relation to class level are summarized in Tables 6-8 and Figures 4-6, respectively.

Class level 5 and 6

Throw type
OF OB CP

7 and 8

Total OF
OB CP

Total Total
OF OB CP

Total
11

5 and 6

OF OB CP

Total 7 and 8
OF

OB
CP

Total Total
OF OB CP

Total Total 5 and 6


OF OB CP

Total 7 and 8
OF

OB
CP

Total Total
OF OB CP

Total

Mean (in.) 147.5000 136.0250 135.3500 139.6250 143.7500 133.8250 135.6500 137.7417 145.6250 134.9250 135.5000 138.6833 145.9750 161.5000 130.0750 145.8500 171.3000 139.778 146.1000 144.7000 158.6375 139.1000 138.0875 145.2750 146.7375 148.7625 132.7125 142,7375 157.5250 125.2625 140.8750 141.2208 152,1313 137.0125 136.7937 141.9792

SD

22.4442 24.0295 17.4708 20.7223 12.1684 35.0335 8.5309 20.8256 17.1348 28.3454 12,9626 20.4352 21.0947 20.8787 11.6624 21.6079 37.1526 55.0608 18.9115 35.1489 31.4547 32.7245 17.0510 28.6734 20.5500 25.1126 14.2771 21.0411 29.8348 30.7667 14.8873 28.6063 25.5401 29.8737 14.8011 24.9082

5 5 6 15 5 5 $ 16 10 10 10 30 5 5 5 15 5 5 5 15 10 10 10 30 10 10 10
80 10

Mean (ft) 12.29 11.34 11.28 11.98 11.15 11.30 12.14 11.24 11.29 12.16 13.46 10.84 14.28 11.65 12.18 13.22 11.59 11.51 12.23 12.40 11.06 13.13 10.44 11.74 12.68 11.42 11.40

Mean (m) 3.75 3.71 3.44 3.55 3.65 3.40 3.46 3.93 3.43 3.44 3.52 3.70 4.10 3,30 3.70 4.35 3.56 3.71 3.68 4.03 3.53 3.51 3.69 3.73 3.78 3.37 3.63 4.00 3.18 3.58 3.86 3.48 3.47

10 10 30 20 20 20 60

^ SD = Standard deviation; OF = overhead forward throw; OB = overhead backward throw; CP = chest pass.

700

SALONIA, CHU, CHEIFETZ ET AL.


260 r 240 220' 200' 180'
CM

TABLE 6. Relationship between distance and throw type. Throw type OF OB CP Total
TABLE 7.

Mean 152.1313 142.7817 136.7938 143.9022

SD

20 20 20 60

25.5401 25.1201 14.8011 22.8982

Relationship between distance and age. Mean N SD Age (years) 138.6833 30 20.4352 10 149.1212 30 24.3473 11 143.9022 60 22.8982 Total Relationship between distance and class level. Mean N SD Class level 142.7375 30 21.0411 5 and 6 145.0670 30 7 and 8 24.9240 143.9022 60 Total 22.8982
TABLE 8.
260' 240' 220' CO

160 140 120 100 80


N=

'

30

beginner

advani^d

LEVEL

5. Mean and standard deviation of throw distance and class levels.


FIGURE

Oe

240' 220

'Me

200' 180'

200180'

160' 160' 140'


140'

n
1 L
overhead

LU 120' ^ Q 100 80 ten year otds

= ^ j

DISTANCE

chest

AGE FIGURE

4. Mean and standard deviation of throw distance

THROTYPE

and age.

FIGURE

6. Mean and standard deviation ol" throw distance and throw type.

A 2 X 2 X 3 factorial ANOVA design was used to determine the relationship between mean throw distance iind throw type, mean throw distance and age, and mean throw distance and class level. The research failed to reject all 3 hypotheses. No significant difference was between mean throw distances for each clas.s level, between mean throw distances for each age group, or between throw distances for throw type. Because no significant main effects were found, no interaction terms were considered (see Table 9).
DISCUSSION

The medicine-ball throw test was designed to assess upper-body power l22). The purpose of this study was to use mean throw distance as a measurement of upper-hody power and determine the relationship between upperbody power and class level, age, and throw type.

Upper-hody power is an important component of women's gymnastics (16). However, no significant difference was found between mean throw distance and class level. Therefore, upper-body power did not change across class levels 5 and 6 to class levels 7 and 8. Several factors may relate to the lack of increased power with the more advanced class levels. This study observed large variability of upper-body power among gymnastic clubs. Within some clubs, the gymnasts in class levels 7 and 8 threw farther than did class levels 5 and 6, and in other clubs class levels 5 and 6 threw farther. This may be because of the variability of the throw distances among class levels. Varied strength, power, and conditioning programs among the clubs may be a contributing factor to the discrepancies. Vossen et al. (24) and Crowder et al. (8) found power-training exercises were superior over strengthtraining exercises to increase the measurement of power.

MEDICINE BALL, POWI-K, AND GYMNASTICS

701

TABLE 9. Analysis of variance factorial design of throw distance, throw type, age, and class level. Mean square F Source Type III sum of .squares df 725.211 7977.320 11 Corrected model 1.516 1 Intercept 1242471.453 1242471.453 2597.719 1634.225 1634.225 1 Age (y) 3.417 1 81.399 Class level 81.399 0.170 2390.055 Throw type 2 1195.027 2.499 26.219 1 Age (y), class level 266.219 0,557 480.447 Age (y), throw type 2 240.223 0.502 1548.972 2 Class level, throw type 774.486 1.819 1576.004 2 Age (y), class level, throw type 788.002 1.648 22958.075 48 Error 478.293 1273406.848 60 Type 30935.395 59 Corrected total

p value 0.157 0.000 0.071


0.6H2 0.093

0.459 0.608
0.209

0.203

Measuring power after implementing a specific powertraining program across different class levels would be a suggestion for future study. in addition to power, gymnastics requires strong motor skills such as muscle coordination and balance. Variability of these motor skills among gymnasts may also contribute to the lack of power progression among class levels. To eliminate subject variability, future research can be performed with a gymnast performing all types of throws. Also, a longitudinal study can be performed measuring gymnasts' power as they advance through class levels. No significant difference was found between mean tbrow distance and age; therefore, upper-body power did not change with age. Mayhew et al. {13) and Viitasalo (23) also found that age was not a contributing factor to upper-body power in young athletes. Sands (21) found that 9-year-oid female gymnasts were less consistent than 10and 11-year-old female gymnasts. He attributed the differences to growth-related characteristics, whereas the 10- and 11-year-old gymnasts have similar physical characteristics. A suggestion for future study is to compare gymnasts at different ages who are within the same class level to test upper-body power. No significant difference was found between mean throw distance and tbrow type. Upper-body power remained consistent between the overhead forward throw, the overhead backward throw, and the chest pass. This study observed variability in throw technique during the overhead backward throw. Some gymnasts attained a greater ball height, thereby decreasing the mean throw distance. Stockbrugger and Haennel {22> found the overhead backward toss to be a valid and reliable test. However, the subjects were competitive volleyball players ages 16-30. Age and familiarity of the movement pattern may have contributed to the consistency of these subjects' throws. Although gymnasts are familiar with backward movement patterns, these subjects appeared to be uncomfortable with the overhead backward throw. Perhaps an additional practice throw may be warranted in these subjects. Gillespie and Keenum (10) used upnght posts mounted on a crossbar to control the subjects' throw height. This experiment was perfonned with an overhead forward pass and would be difficult to implement with an overhead backward pass. A future study controlling the vertical height of the overhead backward throw is warranted in young gymnasts. Because the results of this study indicate that testing

gymnasts for upper-body power with the overhead forward throw, overhead backward tbrow, or chest pass will measure upper-body power equally well, a gymnastics coach can choose only 1 of the 3 tests for normative data testing. Also, because none of the main effects were significant, no interaction effects were considered.
PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS

Medicine-ball throw distance is a quick and easy test to measure upper-body power. This .study found no relationship between upper-body power and class level, age, and throw type. The variability among gymnastic clubs may have been a contributing factor of the measurement of mean power. Future studies exploring the influence of power training programs and the effect of development of power across gymnastic class levels would explore these interactions.

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