Background Previous research has shown that muscle imbalances may be an important risk factor for lower limb injuries in runners. No studies have evaluated hip musculature imbalance in sprinters. Identifying pre-season strength and imbalances of the hip gluteal musculature can have an important impact on injury prevention within this population.
Objective To describe the muscle performance and imbalances between limbs related to the hip extensor, external rotators and abductors muscles in sprinters.
Design Athletes were assessed during the pre-season period. Muscle function performance of the hip extensors, external rotators and abductors were tested.
Participants All participants (n=69) were federated at the Spanish athletics federation and involved in high-level track and field training sessions (minimum 5 sessions per week) for at least the last 3 years. All of them had undertaken similar training demands in the past.
Interventions We measured the maximum number of repetitions without compensatory movements of each leg during the straight knee bridge exercise (test 1), hip external rotation in prone (test 2) and hip abduction in side-line (test 3). Data analysis and comparison in between limbs were calculated.
Results No significant differences in between limbs were observed in all three tests (p<0,005). The assessment of the hip external rotators (test 2), have shown the worse performance among this population with 30,8% of the athletes on the dominant limb and 35,3% on non-dominant limb not being able to perform even 1 rep without compensation.
Conclusions We did not observe significant imbalances in between limbs. The hip external rotators muscles demonstrated the worst performance with a high number of athletes not being able to perform the test. The weakness of the external rotators and compensations associated with it can have several different impacts on the lower limb function during running, therefore possible importance for injury prevention strategies.
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