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Madoka Ogawa, Naotoshi Mitsukawa, Michael G. Bemben and Takashi Abe

Context:

Previous studies investigated the relationship between ultrasound-derived anatomical muscle thickness (MTH) and individual muscle cross-sectional area (CSA) and muscle volume in several limb and trunk muscles; however, the adductor muscle that contributes to hip adduction and pelvic stabilization, as well as balance ability, has not been studied.

Objective:

To examine the relationship between MTH of the lower, middle, and upper thigh measured by B-mode ultrasound and the muscle CSA and volume of adductor muscle obtained by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to confirm the possibility of predicting adductor muscle CSA/volume using ultrasound-derived MTH.

Setting:

University research laboratory.

Subjects:

10 men and 10 women (20–41 y old) volunteered to participate in this study.

Main Outcome Measures:

A series of continuous muscle CSAs along the thigh were measured by MRI scans (1.5-T scanner, GE Signa). In each slice, the anatomical CSA of the adductors was analyzed, and the muscle volume was calculated by multiplying muscle CSA by slice thickness. Thigh MTH was measured by B-mode ultrasound (Aloka SSD-500) at 5 sites (anterior 30%, 50%, and 70% and posterior 50% and 70% of thigh length).

Results:

A strong correlation was observed between anterior 30% MTH and 30% adductor CSA in men (r = .845, P < .002) and women (r = .952, P < .001) and in both groups combined (r = .922, P < .001). Anterior 30% MTH was also strongly correlated to adductor muscle volume when combined with thigh length (n = 20, r = .949, P < .001). However, there were moderate or nonsignificant correlations between anterior and posterior 50% and 70% MTH and adductor muscle CSA/volume.

Conclusions:

The results suggest that MTH in the upper portion of anterior thigh best reflects adductor muscle CSA or muscle volume, while the lower portions of the anterior and posterior sites are least likely to predict adductor muscle size.

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Beth Norris and Elaine Trudelle-Jackson

Context:

The Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT) is often used to train and assess dynamic balance and neuromuscular control. Few studies have examined hip- and thigh-muscle activation during the SEBT.

Objective:

To quantify hip- and thigh-muscle activity during the SEBT.

Design:

Repeated measures.

Setting:

Laboratory.

Participants:

22 healthy individuals, 11 men and 11 women.

Methods:

EMG measurements were taken as participants completed 3 trials of the anterior (A), medial (M), and posteromedial (PM) reach directions of the SEBT.

Main Outcome Measures:

Mean EMG data (% maximal voluntary isometric contraction) from the gluteus medius (Gmed), gluteus maximus (Gmax), and vastus medialis (VM) were measured during the eccentric phase of each SEBT reach direction. Test–retest reliability of EMG data across the 3 trials in each direction was calculated. EMG data from each muscle were compared across the 3 reach directions.

Results:

Test–retest reliability ranged from ICC3,1 values of .91 to .99. A 2-way repeated-measure ANOVA revealed a significant interaction between muscle activation and reach direction. One-way ANOVAs showed no difference in GMed activity between the A and M directions. GMed activity in the A and M directions was greater than in the PM direction. There was no difference in GMax and VM activity across the 3 directions.

Conclusion:

GMed was recruited most effectively when reaching was performed in the A and M directions. The A, M, and PM directions elicited similar patterns of muscle recruitment for the GMax and VM. During all 3 SEBT directions, VM activation exceeded the 40–60% threshold suggested for strengthening effects. GMed activity also exceeded the threshold in the M direction. GMax activation, however, was below the 40% threshold for all 3 reach directions, suggesting that performing dynamic lower extremity reaching in the A, M, and PM directions may not elicit strengthening effects for the GMax.

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Amândio M.C. Santos, Neil Armstrong, Mark B. A. De Ste Croix, Peter Sharpe and Joanne R. Welsman

These studies used multilevel modelling to examine optimised peak power (PPopt) from a force velocity test over the age range 12–14 years. In the first study, body mass, stature, triceps and subscapular skinfold thicknesses of boys and girls, aged 12.3 ± 0.3 y at the onset of the study, were measured on four occasions at 6 monthly intervals. The analysis was founded on 146 PPopt determinations (79 from boys and 67 from girls). Body mass and stature were significant explanatory variables with sum of two skinfolds exerting an additional effect. No gender differences were evident but PPopt increased with age. In the second study, thigh muscle volume (TMV) was estimated using magnetic resonance imaging at test occasions two and four. The analysis, founded on a subsample of 67 PPopt determinations (39 from boys and 28 from girls), demonstrated TMV to be a significant additional explanatory variable alongside body mass and stature with neither age nor gender making a significant contribution to PPopt. Together the studies demonstrate the influence of body size and TMV on young people’s PPopt.

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Kam-Ming Mok, Eirik Klami Kristianslund and Tron Krosshaug

Knee valgus angles measured in sidestep cutting and vertical drop jumps are key variables in research on anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury causation. These variables are also used to quantify knee neuromuscular control and ACL injury risk. The aims of the current study were to (1) quantify the differences in the calculated knee valgus angles between 6 different thigh marker clusters, (2) investigate the trial ranking based on their knee valgus angles, and (3) investigate the influence of marker clusters on the cross-talk effect. Elite female handball and football players (n = 41) performed sidestep cutting and vertical drop jumping motions. We found systematic differences up to almost 15° of peak valgus between the marker sets in the drop jump test. The Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient varied from .505 to .974 among the 6 marker sets. In addition, the cross-talk effect varied considerably between the marker clusters. The results of the current study indicate that the choice of thigh marker cluster can have a substantial impact on the magnitude of knee valgus angle, as well as the trial ranking. A standardized thigh marker cluster, including nonanatomical landmark, is needed to minimize the variation of the measurement.

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Steven Eustace, Richard Michael Page and Matt Greig

’s guidelines, with the cuff of the lever arm secured around the ankle proximal to the malleoli. The player was secured in a seated position with the hip positioned at approximately 90°. Restraints were applied proximal to the knee joint across the thigh, waist, and chest. The repetition eliciting the highest

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Jay Hertel

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Kenny Guex, Francois Fourchet, Heiko Loepelt and Gregoire P. Millet

Context:

A passive knee-extension test has been shown to be a reliable method of assessing hamstring tightness, but this method does not take into account the potential effect of gravity on the tested leg.

Objective:

To compare an original passive knee-extension test with 2 adapted methods including gravity’s effect on the lower leg.

Design:

Repeated measures.

Setting:

Laboratory.

Participants:

20 young track and field athletes (16.6 ± 1.6 y, 177.6 ± 9.2 cm, 75.9 ± 24.8 kg).

Intervention:

Each subject was tested in a randomized order with 3 different methods: In the original one (M1), passive knee angle was measured with a standard force of 68.7 N (7 kg) applied proximal to the lateral malleolus. The second (M2) and third (M3) methods took into account the relative lower-leg weight (measured respectively by handheld dynamometer and anthropometrical table) to individualize the force applied to assess passive knee angle.

Main Outcome Measures:

Passive knee angles measured with video-analysis software.

Results:

No difference in mean individualized applied force was found between M2 and M3, so the authors assessed passive knee angle only with M2. The mean knee angle was different between M1 and M2 (68.8 ± 12.4 vs 73.1 ± 10.6, P < .001). Knee angles in M1 and M2 were correlated (r = .93, P < .001).

Conclusions:

Differences in knee angle were found between the original passive knee-extension test and a method with gravity correction. M2 is an improved version of the original method (M1) since it minimizes the effect of gravity. Therefore, we recommend using it rather than M1.

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Justin W.Y. Lee, Ming-Jing Cai, Patrick S.H. Yung and Kai-Ming Chan

Purpose: To evaluate the test–retest reliability, sensitivity, and concurrent validity of a smartphone-based method for assessing eccentric hamstring strength among male professional football players. Methods: A total of 25 healthy male professional football players performed the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Nordic break-point test, hamstring fatigue protocol, and isokinetic hamstring strength test. The CUHK Nordic break-point test is based on a Nordic hamstring exercise. The Nordic break-point angle was defined as the maximum point where the participant could no longer support the weight of his body against gravity. The criterion for the sensitivity test was the presprinting and postsprinting difference of the Nordic break-point angle with a hamstring fatigue protocol. The hamstring fatigue protocol consists of 12 repetitions of the 30-m sprint with 30-s recoveries between sprints. Hamstring peak torque of the isokinetic hamstring strength test was used as the criterion for validity. Results: A high test–retest reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient = .94; 95% confidence interval, .82–.98) was found in the Nordic break-point angle measurements. The Nordic break-point angle significantly correlated with isokinetic hamstring peak torques at eccentric action of 30°/s (r = .88, r 2 = .77, P < .001). The minimal detectable difference was 8.03°. The sensitivity of the measure was good enough that a significance difference (effect size = 0.70, P < .001) was found between presprinting and postsprinting values. Conclusion: The CUHK Nordic break-point test is a simple, portable, quick smartphone-based method to provide reliable and accurate eccentric hamstring strength measures among male professional football players.

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Allyson M. Carter, Stephen J. Kinzey, Linda F. Chitwood and Judith L Cole

Context:

Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) is commonly used before competition to increase range of motion. It is not known how it changes muscle response to rapid length changes.

Objective:

To determine whether PNF alters hamstring muscle activity during response to rapid elongation.

Design:

2 X 2 factorial.

Setting:

Laboratory.

Participants:

Twenty-four women; means: 167.27 cm, 58.92 kg, 21.42 y, 18.41% body fat, 21.06 kg/m2 BMI.

intervention:

Measurements before and after either rest or PNF were compared.

Main Outcome Measures:

Average muscle activity immediately after a rapid and unexpected stretch, 3 times pretreatment and posttreatment, averaged into 2 pre-and post- measures.

Results:

PNF caused decreased activity in the biceps femoris during response to a sudden stretch (P = .04). No differences were found in semitendinosus activity (P = .35).

Conclusions:

Decreased muscle activity likely results from acute desensitization of the muscle spindle, which might increase risk of muscle and tendon injury.