In 2001, German researchers published a paper comparing the effects of isolated balance training (sensorimotor training) or strength training on knee strength, as well as muscle imbalance.
The researchers had 30 healthy and active subjects randomly assigned to a balance training group (n=15) or a strength training group (n=15). The subjects’ balance (single leg stance and stabiliometry) and knee muscle strength (isokinetic) were assessed before and after the
Each group trained 25 minutes, 2 to 3 times a week for 4-6 weeks until 12 training sessions were completed. The strength training group performed leg press and leg curls on machines with 2 sets of 5 repetitions at 80% 1RM. The workload remained unchanged through the training. The balance training group used an exercise ball, Posturomed, minitramp, and balance boards.
Both groups experienced similar significant strength gains. In the balance training group, balance significantly improved 100% over the strength group. In addition, muscle strength imbalances exhibited before training were normalized in the balance training group, but not the strength training group.
In conclusion, the balance training program with simple devices led to strength gains in
the knee similar to strength training, but also improved balance better than strength training
alone. Balance training may also be effective at improving muscle imbalances in contrast to
Heitkamp HC, Horstmann T, Mayer F, Weller J, Dickhuth HH. 2001.Gain in strength and muscular balance after balance training. International Journal of Sports Medicine. 22:285-290.