Muscle strength and soccer practice as major determinants of bone mineral density in adolescents

Joint Bone Spine. 2012 Jul;79(4):403-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jbspin.2011.09.003. Epub 2011 Nov 8.


Objectives: To analyse the relationship between isokinetic strength of the lower limb muscles and bone mineral density and content (BMD, BMC) of adolescent male soccer players and age-matched controls not involved in sport (12-15 years).

Methods: A random sample of 151 young males was divided into soccer players (SG; n=117) and control subjects (CG; n=34). Peak torque of knee extensors (PTE) and flexors (PTF) was measured during isokinetic knee joint movement (90°/s) of the dominant and non-dominant lower limbs. BMD and BMC of the whole-body, lumbar spine, dominant/non-dominant lower limb were determined by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Physical activity was monitored with accelerometers during 5 days. Estimated maturity offset was used as an indicator of biological maturity status.

Results: Whole-body BMD (1.03±0.01 vs. 0.98±0.01 g/cm2, P=0.003) and dominant (1.09±0.01 vs. 1.02±0.01 g/cm2, P<0.001) and non-dominant (1.09±0.01 vs. 1.01±0.01 g/cm2, P<0.001) lower limb BMD was greater in SG compared to CG. No significant differences were found for BMC. Compared to CG, SG performed better in the YY-IE2 test (780±40 vs. 625±31 m), exhibited higher PTE (dominant limb: 155.2±30.3 vs. 123.4±37.0N m; non-dominant limb: 156.2±36.1 vs. 120.4±41.1 N m) and PTF muscles (dominant limb: 79.0±25.3 vs. 57.1±25.3 Nm; non-dominant limb: 73.3±20.7 vs. 57.0±24.2N m). Moreover, the PTE, soccer participation and maturity status were positively associated with the BMD at all body sites (r2=0.57-0.73, P<0.05).

Conclusions: Muscle strength of knee extensors is associated with BMD and BMC at all body sites. Muscle-skeletal structures respond positively to the weight-bearing and impact-loading imposed by soccer practice. Soccer seemed to be a multilateral balanced sport activity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Composition
  • Bone Density / physiology*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction
  • Knee / physiology
  • Lower Extremity
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Radiography
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Running / physiology*
  • Soccer / physiology*
  • Torque