Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2020) 19, 745 - 752

Research article
Inter-Limb Asymmetries in Volleyball Players: Differences between Testing Approaches and Association with Performance
Žiga Kozinc1,2, Nejc Šarabon1,3,4, 
Author Information
1 University of Primorska, Faculty of Health Sciences, Izola, Slovenia
2 University of Primorska, Andrej Marušič Institute, Koper, Slovenia
3 InnoRenew CoE, Human Health Department Izola, Slovenia
4 S2P, Science to practice, Ltd., Laboratory for Motor Control and Motor Behavior, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Nejc Šarabon
✉ University of Primorska, Faculty of Health Sciences, Polje 42, SI-6310 Izola, Slovenia
Publish Date
Received: 17-04-2020
Accepted: 14-10-2020
Published (online): 19-11-2020
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In this study, we investigated the prevalence of inter-limb asymmetries in young volleyball players and assessed the differences in the outcomes of different strength and power tests. The study sample comprised of 54 young volleyball players (25 males). Both limbs were tested for single-leg jumping for distance (forward and lateral single jump and triple jump forward for distance), single-leg vertical counter-movement jump (CMJ), change-of-direction (CoD) ability with 90 and 180° turn tests, unilateral maximal isometric knee extension torque, rate of torque development (RTD), and rate of torque development scaling factor (RTD-SF). For all tests, inter-limb asymmetry indexes were calculated. The average magnitude of the inter-limb asymmetries varied substantially (2.0-31.2 %) among different outcome measures. The agreement in the categorization of participants into ‘’symmetrical’’ or ‘’asymmetrical’’, based on the >10% threshold, was very poor in general, with the exception of the outcomes within the same task (e.g. CMJ power and CMJ force). Similar findings were found for the agreement on the direction of the asymmetries. Inter-limb asymmetry in RTD-SF was weakly associated with the CoD performance (r = 0.30; p = 0.031). Multiple strength and power testing protocols are needed to obtain a comprehensive overview of athlete’s imbalances. The commonly accepted 10 % threshold for classification of individuals as asymmetrical should be reconsidered and reinvestigated. RFD-SF is suggested as a novel outcome measure that can provide additional information to researchers and coaches.

Key words: Muscle imbalance, volleyball performance, jumping performance, muscle quickness

           Key Points
  • Different lower-limb strength and power tests may produce substantially different results in view of inter-limb asymmetry indexes and associations with performance in volleyball players.
  • Practitioners are advised to be cautious when referring to inter-limb asymmetry cut-off values (e.g. 10%) as the threshold above which the inter-limb asymmetries become detrimental.
  • The association between inter-limb asymmetries of various outcome measures and athletic performance is still poorly understood.
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