Isokinetic Performance of Knee Flexor and Extensor Muscles in American Football Players from Brazil

Abstract The isokinetic performance of thigh muscles has been related to athletic performance and risk for non-contact injuries, such as anterior cruciate ligament ruptures and hamstring strains. Although isokinetic profile of American football players from United States (USA) is widely described, there is a lack of studies comprising players acting outside the USA. The primary objective of this study was to describe the isokinetic performance of thigh muscles in elite American football players in Brazil. Secondarily, we aimed to compare the playing positions and compare the Brazilian players with high-level athletes from USA. Knee extensor (KE) and flexor (KF) muscles of 72 Brazilian players were assessed through isokinetic tests at 60°∙s-1. KE concentric peak torque was 276±56 N∙m, while KF had concentric and eccentric peak torques of 151±37 N∙m and 220±40 N∙m, respectively. Offensive linemen players presented greater peak torque values than defensive lineman, halfbacks, and wide receivers (all comparisons are provided in the article). Brazilian players had lower scores than USA athletes for KE and KF peak torque values. In addition, a conventional torque ratio (concentric/concentric) lower than 0.6 was found in 76-83% of athletes, and a functional ratio (eccentric/eccentric) below to 1.0 in 94%. Bilateral asymmetry greater than 10% was verified in 26% and 43% of athletes for KE and KF muscles, respectively. Elite players in Brazil present high incidence of strength imbalance in thigh muscles, and they are below USA players in relation to torque production capacity of KE and KF muscles.