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Original articles  

The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2000 March;40(1):17-25

language: English

Improvement of motor abilities in pubertal girls

Volver A., Viru A., Viru M.

From the Institute of Exercise Biology University of Tartu, Estonia


Background. Purpose of the ­study was to ­test the hypoth­e­sis ­that in the ­course of sex­u­al mat­u­ra­tion pos­sibil­ities for accel­er­at­ed devel­op­ment of ­motor abil­ities are trig­gered in ­girls.
Methods. A ­cross-sec­tion­al ­study was con­duct­ed on 77 ­healthy 11- to 14-­year-old ­girls, ­grouped accord­ing to Tanner’s 5-­stage ­scale of sex­u­al mat­u­ra­tion. Motor abil­ities ­were ­assessed ­with the aid of 20 m ­dash, 4×9 m shut­tle run, stand­ing ­long ­jump, ­squats in 30 sec, sit ups in 30 sec, ­trunk for­ward flex­ion, Cooper 12-min run­ning ­test, and Harvard ­step-­test.
Results. Performance in the shut­tle run, stand­ing ­long ­jump and ­trunk for­ward flex­ion ­improved in cor­re­la­tion ­with sex­u­al mat­u­ra­tion ­stage. When con­sec­u­tive mat­u­ra­tion ­groups ­were com­pared, in stand­ing ­long ­jump and ­trunk for­ward flex­ion sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­enc­es ­were ­found ­between sex­u­al mat­u­ra­tion stag­es II and III, in shut­tle run ­between stag­es I and II. The sig­nif­i­cant ­main ­effect of sex­u­al mat­u­ra­tion was con­firmed ­with the aid of MANO­VA. 23% of var­i­ance in the ­results of ­trunk for­ward flex­ion, 17% in stand­ing ­long ­jump, and 10% in shut­tle run ­were attrib­ut­able to mat­u­ra­tion dif­fer­enc­es. For the ­same ­three ­motor ­tasks 4%, 8%, and 15%, ­were respec­tive­ly attrib­ut­ed to age dif­fer­enc­es. Differences ­between mat­u­ra­tion ­groups dis­ap­peared ­when the ­results of shut­tle run and stand­ing ­long ­jump ­were adjust­ed ­with the aid of ANCO­VA for age or ­height as the covar­i­ate, but per­sist­ed ­after ­results ­were con­trolled for ­body ­mass.
Conclusions. The ­results sup­port the test­ed hypoth­e­sis. Critical for improve­ment of agil­ity is reach­ing mat­u­ra­tion ­stage II, and for ­increase of leg mus­cle explo­sive ­strength and ­trunk flex­ibil­ity, reach­ing ­stage III.

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