Validity of a jump training
apparatus using Wii Balance Board

Yamamoto K & Matsuzawa M. 
Gait & Posture. Epub ahead of print 2012. DOI:10.1016.jgaitpost.2012.11.002

ground reaction and contact pressure forces can be a time-intensive and
expensive burden that is often difficult to justify for clinical uses; for
example, injury prevention or performance improvements among the athletic
population.  Recent technological
advancements within video gaming systems and the development of the Wii balance
board may make this type of analysis more readily available to clinicians and
patients in sports medicine.  Therefore,
the purpose of this study was to investigate the validity of the Wii balance
board in assessing ground reaction forces in comparison to a laboratory force
plate.  First, the authors tested if a force
plate and Wii balance board, with a custom software program, generated similar
data when a static weight (10 to 180 kg) was placed on them. To test this they
placed the weight on the Wii Balance Board which was positioned on the force
plate. Then, ten participants (~ 59 kg of weight) performed two jump movements
on the Wii balance board, which was still on the force plate, and the results
were compared.  Among the static
measures, the authors found that the force data from the Wii balance board and
force plate were highly related. The Wii balance board was capable of measuring
weight with a precision of < 2%. However, the board tended to be less
accurate among the weights beyond the max weight recommended by the
manufacturer (i.e., > 130 kg, the Wii balance board overestimated the load
by 1.5 to 1.7%).  During the jumping
trials, the authors found strong correlations between the devices. During the
landing phase of the jumps, the Wii Balance Board had greater measurement
error, particularly when the ground reaction forces were high.     

athletic trainers may have a valid and reliable balance board readily available
through a video game system, which can measure center of pressure and ground
reaction forces.  However, the Wii
balance board is made of plastic and demonstrated physical deformation when
forces or weight increased.  This may
have led to inaccuracy in the readings.  The
manufacturer recommends that individuals with a body weight greater than 130 kg
(286 lbs.) should not use the device.  While
this limitation would be adequate for a large amount of the athletic
population, there are some individuals that this would exclude (e.g., football
linemen).  The Wii balance board may be
easily utilized to show progress of intervention-based programs, teach athletes
how to land appropriately and absorb ground reaction forces, and ultimately aid
in injury prevention.  However, it may
not be appropriate with larger athletes, or with activities generating large landing
forces (e.g., drop jumps) since these conditions may deform the board.  The Wii balance board has been used to
monitor and train athletes’ control of center of pressure, and now seems to
have implications with ground reaction forces. 
Do you have any experience using the Wii or other video game-type
systems for any rehabilitation or injury prevention programs?  What games do you think would be
beneficial?  Also, do you think this is
better to be used as a pre-post test or a training device?

by: Nicole Cattano 
by: Laura McDonald


Yamamoto K, & Matsuzawa M (2012). Validity of a jump training apparatus using Wii Balance Board. Gait & posture PMID: 23219781