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    Assessing Inter-Limb Asymmetries in Soccer Players: Magnitude, Direction and Association with Performance

    Madruga-Parera, Marc, Dos’Santos, Thomas, Bishop, Chris, Turner, Anthony, Blanco, David, Beltran-Garrido, Vicente, Moreno-Pérez, Victor and Romero-Rodríguez, Daniel (2021) Assessing Inter-Limb Asymmetries in Soccer Players: Magnitude, Direction and Association with Performance. Journal of Human Kinetics, 79 (1). pp. 41-53. ISSN 1640-5544

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    In this study, we aimed to analyze the magnitude and direction of inter-limb asymmetries in ankle dorsiflexion range of motion (ROM), power (using iso-inertial devices), and a neuromuscular skill (change of direction). Secondarily, we aimed to determine the relationship between inter-limb asymmetry scores for each test and also between these scores and the scores for the different performance tests. Sixteen semiprofessional male soccer players (age: 25.38 ± 6.08 years; body height: 1.78 ± 0.64 m; body mass: 79.5 ± 14.9 kg) participated in this study. We calculated inter-limb asymmetries using five tests: ankle dorsiflexion ROM, change of direction (COD 180º), and iso-inertial resistance tasks in the open (leg extension strength (LE), leg curl strength (LC)) and closed (crossover step (CRO)) kinetic chain. Our results showed that asymmetry magnitudes differed between all tests with highest inter-limb asymmetries displayed during iso-inertial overloading. In addition, we observed that the direction of asymmetries varied depending on the test-specificity, and that the CRO asymmetries had a negative association with LE and CRO performance. These findings highlight the independent nature of asymmetries and that CRO could be an appropriate test to detect asymmetries related with the performance of soccer-specific actions (such as changes of direction). Practitioners are encouraged to use multiple tests to detect existing inter-limb differences according to the specific characteristics of each sport.

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