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Gait Posture. 2014 Jan;39(1):172-6. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2013.06.020. Epub 2013 Jul 19.

Short-term differential training decreases postural sway.

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Department of Health and Human Performance, University of Texas at Brownsville, USA. Electronic address:


Differential training has been shown to enhance motor learning in sports skills. In the present study differential training was applied to the minimization of postural sway. A differential training group performed 15 one minute practice trials, each with different postural movement instructions. A repetitive practice group performed 15 trials standing as still as possible for one minute. Pre- and post-tests were performed standing as still as possible in 1 and 2-leg stance. Accelerometry data were collected approximately at the level of the center of mass (COM) and at the head. The root mean square jerk (RMSJ) of movement at the COM and head was estimated for the anteroposterior and mediolateral axes of motion. A significant Group × Test interaction revealed that the differential training led to lower anteroposterior RMSJ on the post-test than on the Pre-test in both the 1 and 2-leg stance tasks. A significant Group × Effector × Test interaction revealed that the decrease in anteroposterior RMSJ with differential training occurred in the RMSJ of the head but not the COM. The repetitive practice did not lead to a significant change in anteroposterior RMSJ at either the COM or the head. Neither form of training led to a significant change in mediolateral RMSJ. The results indicated that differential training can enhance motor learning not only in complex sports skills but in relatively simple motor tasks such as maintaining quiet stance.


Differential learning; Dynamics; Jerk; Posture; Sway

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