Range of motion of body segments is larger during the maximal instep kick than during the submaximal kick in experienced football players

J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2017 Apr;57(4):388-395. doi: 10.23736/S0022-4707.16.06107-7. Epub 2016 Mar 30.


Background: Football players with groin injury refrain from maximal kicking. Previous groin injury is related to decreased hip range of motion (ROM). Information on ROM differences between maximal and submaximal kicking within players is lacking. The first aim of this study is to quantify ROM of body segments during the maximal (MaxK) and submaximal (SubK) instep kick at four key points. The second aim is to study ROM differences of tension arc and movement trajectories between MaxK and SubK.

Methods: Maximal (100% ball speed) and submaximal (70% ball speed) instep kicks from 15 experienced football players were registered with motion capture. ROM of hip, spine, pelvis and knee segments were determined at four key points. Differences in segmental ROM for the tension arc and movement trajectories between MaxK and SubK were studied. Effect sizes (ES) were calculated.

Results: Ball speed was 98.8±9.0 km/h for MaxK and 69.5±7.1 km/h for SubK. Three key points timed similarly (P<0.05) for MaxK and SubK. MaxK shows increased ROM for all segments (P<0.05) but not for hip flexion. MaxK results in enlargement of tension arc and movement trajectories. Spine flexion (ES=3.2) and pelvis posterior tilt (ES=2.2) show the greatest relative increase.

Conclusions: Maximal kicking shows larger segmental ROM than submaximal kicking. Enlargement of tension arc and movement trajectories relate to increased segmental velocity, according to biomechanical concepts. Central body actions play an important role in kicking. This information can be used to further identify kicking strategies in athletes with injury.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Lower Extremity / physiology*
  • Male
  • Movement
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology*
  • Soccer / physiology*