Changes in body composition and physical fitness of 7-year-old girls after completing a 12-month artistic gymnastics training program
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Purpose. The aim of the study was to evaluate changes in body composition and physical fitness in girls aged 7 years before and after a 12-month macrocycle artistic gymnastics training program. Methods. The study involved 32 girls attending the first grade at a sports-focused primary school with a specialization in artistic gymnastics. The study was conducted at the beginning and after an annual training cycle. Measures of body height, body mass, and body composition were performed. Physical fitness was assessed using the Eurofit physical fitness test battery. Results. The results showed average body composition and a high initial level and later dynamic increase in the physical fitness of the participants. Conclusions. The dynamic increase in the results of six Eurofit tests and the overall high level of results in seven of the tests after completing the annual training cycle is evidence of the high effectiveness of the applied training program in improving the physical fitness of the tested girls. The reasons for the lack of significant progress in one of the tests measuring agility (10 × 5 m shuttle run) are unclear, requiring more in-depth analysis of the training process used by trainers with focus on the applied methods, means, and training load volumes. The Eurofit test battery proved to be a precise tool to assess changes in the physical fitness of the tested girls after completing the annual training cycle and is therefore worth recommending at early training stage in gymnastics. The results provide useful information in optimizing the training loads of artistic gymnasts at the initial training stage.
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