A comparative study was made of the isokinetic characteristics of the ankle (plantar-flexion and dorsiflexion) in young men. Six cyclists, seven gymnasts, 10 soccer players and 25 non-athletic young men were tested on the Cybex II+ dynamometer. Peak torque, torque acceleration energy (TAE), total work and average power were measured. Cyclists had slightly higher (5%) mean plantar flexion than the others, but this was not significant. The situation was reversed for dorsiflexion. Moreover, the average dorsiflexion per unit of plantar flexion was significantly higher in the gymnasts than it was in the cyclists for both torque and work. This suggests that at a specific level of plantar flexion, the gymnasts had stronger dorsiflexion compared with the cyclists and that in sports involving jumping and running, increased attention should be given to strengthening the antagonist muscle groups (dorsiflexors) in order to achieve greater agonist-to-antagonist muscle balance thus preventing injury. The non-athletic subjects had substantially lower endurance capability in both flexors as measured by the endurance ratio. This implies that identifiable specialization in particular muscles results from training or participating in specialized sports.
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