The relationship between muscle cross-sectional area and strength in various isokinetic movements among soccer players

J Sports Sci. 2003 Oct;21(10):851-8. doi: 10.1080/0264041031000102042.


The aim of the present study was to examine the relationships between muscle cross-sectional area (CSA) and muscular strength in terms of knee extension and flexion, hip extension and flexion, and hip abduction and adduction among well-trained soccer players. Fourteen university soccer players participated in the study, who had previously been divided into two groups based on ability (Group A: above-average ability; Group B: average ability). Maximal isokinetic and concentric muscular strength was measured in knee extension/flexion, hip extension/flexion and hip abduction/adduction using an isokinetic dynamometer at 1.57 and 4.19 rad x s(-1) (3.14 rad x s(-1)) in both the dominant and non-dominant leg. The CSAs of the thigh, gluteus muscles and iliopsoas muscles were calculated based on magnetic resonance imaging. There was no significant difference between the two groups in muscle CSA and isokinetic strength. Although there were some statistically significant differences between the dominant and non-dominant leg in terms of CSA and strength (P < 0.05-0.01), these were small and negligible. Apart from a non-significant relationship between the CSAs of the adductor muscles and hip adductor strength (r < 0.26, N.S.), the CSA of the other muscle groups correlated with maximal isokinetic strength (r = 0.38-0.64, P < 0.05). These results suggest that no difference in muscle characteristics (in terms of muscle CSA and strength) was apparent among well-trained soccer players, even between the dominant and non-dominant leg. There is also a case that the anatomical function of a single (or group of) muscle(s) may not be reflected by the strength-CSA relationship depending on the movements (such as hip adduction-adductor muscle CSA). Thus, further studies are required to develop methods to assess neuromuscular function in relation to muscle morphology among soccer players.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anatomy, Cross-Sectional
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Hip / anatomy & histology*
  • Hip / physiology
  • Humans
  • Knee / anatomy & histology*
  • Knee / physiology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / anatomy & histology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Soccer / physiology*
  • Thigh / anatomy & histology*
  • Thigh / physiology