The Effect of the Power Balance Bracelet on Balance, Flexibility, and Strength
Dr. Maureen Dunn, Hope College
The Power Balance bracelet is a growing phenomenon in the athletic community because of its proposed effects on athletic performance. A Mylar holographic disc in the bracelet supposedly improves flexibility, balance, and strength in its users. This study was performed to test the efficacy of the Power Balance bracelet in a variety of physical tests that assessed flexibility, balance, and strength. Fifteen healthy Hope College males were recruited from the club lacrosse team and the Emersonian fraternity to participate in the study. Participants were tested in pre-determined tests once a week for four weeks. The first week was used for baseline measurements to familiarize the subjects with testing procedures and limit practice effects. Each participant was then tested once a week for a total of three weeks in a counterbalanced manner: one week with no bracelet, one week with a placebo bracelet (a Power Balance bracelet with the hologram removed), and one week with an actual Power Balance bracelet. To assess balance, participants were scored using the Balance Error Scoring System while standing on a force plate. Flexibility was determined using the sit and reach test along with goinometer measurements (shoulder flexion and hip extension). One repetition max tests on bench press and leg press and grip strength were used to measure strength. Results showed no significant differences in performance between the three conditions. However, improvements in leg press and sit and reach performance occurred over the course of the four-week study, regardless of whether participants wore the placebo bracelet, no bracelet, or the actual Power Balance bracelet. Overall, data suggested that any improvement in performance in balance, flexibility or strength was not based on the claims of the Power Balance bracelet and the proposed effects of its embedded Mylar holographic disc.
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