Exploring how arm movement moderates the effect of lower limb muscle fatigue on dynamic balance in healthy youth

Katharina Borgmann, Jendrik Ferdenhert, Alexandra C. Neyses, Julian Bauer, Mathew Hill, Thomas Muehlbauer

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Background: In young adults, there is evidence that free arm movements do not help to compensate muscle fatigue-induced deteriorations in dynamic balance performance. However, the postural control system in youth is immature, and as a result, the use of arm movements may provide a compensatory “upper body strategy” to correct fatigue-related balance impairments. Thus, the purpose of the present study was to compare the effects of free vs. restricted arm movement on dynamic balance performance prior and following exercise-induced muscle fatigue.

Methods: Forty-three healthy youth (19 females; mean age: 12.8 ± 1.9 years) performed the Y Balance Test–Lower Quarter before and immediately after a fatiguing exercise (i.e., repetitive vertical bipedal box jumps until failure) using two different arm positions: free (move the arms freely) and restricted (keep the arms akimbo) arm movement.

Results: Muscle fatigue (p ≤ 0.033; 0.10 ≤ ηp2 ≤ 0.33) and restriction of arm movement (p ≤ 0.005; 0.17 ≤ ηp2 ≤ 0.46) resulted in significantly deteriorated dynamic balance performance. However, the interactions between the two did not reach the level of significance (p ≥ 0.091; 0.01 ≤ ηp2 ≤ 0.07).

Conclusion: Our findings indicate that the use of an “upper body strategy” (i.e., free arm position) has no compensatory effect on muscle fatigue-induced dynamic balance deteriorations in healthy youth.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1391868
Number of pages8
JournalFrontiers in Sports and Active Living
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2024

Bibliographical note

© 2024 Borgmann, Ferdenhert, Neyses, Bauer, Hill and Muehlbauer. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms


The author(s) declare financial support was received for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Open Access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL. We acknowledge support by the Open Access Publication Fund of the University of Duisburg-Essen organised by the project DEAL. The funding body is independent of the design of the study and collection, analysis, and interpretation of data and in writing the manuscript.


  • postural control
  • upper body strategy
  • arm position
  • lower extremities
  • reaching movement
  • exhaustion
  • youth


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