Effects of eccentric-emphasized leg curl intervention on muscle strength imbalance markers in professional soccer players during pre-season
Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies
School of Medical and Health Sciences
National Health and Medical Research Council
Background: The effects of strength training on muscle strength imbalance are unclear in professional soccer players. As a result, this study examined the effects of an 8-week strength training program comprising eccentric-emphasized prone leg curl adjusted according to the individual strength imbalance status. Methods: Ten professional soccer players (26.0 ± 3.6 yrs) participated in the study. Players who had a ≥ 10% contralateral imbalance in knee flexors eccentric peak torque (n = 6) performed two additional repetitions per set in the low-strength limb (high-volume, HV) compared to the high-strength limb (low-volume, LV). Isokinetic concentric knee extension and concentric and eccentric knee flexion peak torque (PT) and derived contralateral imbalances and conventional and functional hamstring-to-quadriceps ratios (H:Q) were assessed at baseline and after 8 weeks. Differences at baseline were assessed using paired-sample T-tests, and a two-way (limb x time) repeated measures analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) for changes over time. Results: A significant improvement in the eccentric knee flexion PT was observed in both limbs after 8 weeks (P < 0.05), with greater effects observed in the HV limb (25.0 N m, 95% CI: 15.1–34.9 N m). Significant decreases were also observed in the contralateral imbalances from concentric knee extension and flexion and eccentric knee flexion PT (P < 0.05). Differences were not observed in concentric knee extension and flexion PT (P > 0.05). Conclusions: A short-term eccentric-emphasized leg curl intervention adjusted by the initial knee flexors eccentric strength was an efficient method to improve knee flexors strength imbalance in professional soccer players.