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Knee strength variability between individuals across ranges of motion and hip angles


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2000 - Volume 32 - Issue 5 - p 985-992
Applied Sciences: Biodynamics

PAVOL, M. J., and M. D. GRABINER. Knee strength variability between individuals across ranges of motion and hip angles. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 32, No. 5, pp. 985–992, 2000.

Purpose Isokinetic strength is normally measured for a single range of motion and body position. This study quantified the variability, between individuals, in the relationships between a single peak knee extension moment and the isokinetic extension moments measured for different hip angles and ranges of knee motion. Effects of hip angle, and of the starting knee angle of the range of motion, on isokinetic knee extension strength were also determined.

Methods The isokinetic knee extension strength of 10 subjects was measured at 30°·s−1 to a knee flexion angle of 10° from starting knee angles of 90, 75, 60, 45, and 30°, in both the seated and supine positions. Moments were normalized to the peak moment from a reference contraction.

Results Peak moments and moments at larger knee flexion angles were greater in the seated than in the supine position. The starting knee angle affected the peak moment, the angle of peak moment, and the moments over the initial and final portions of the range of motion. Peak moments were highly correlated between all hip angle-starting knee angle combinations. However, the normalized peak moments, the angles of peak moment, and the normalized angle-specific moments all varied considerably between subjects. The pooled standard deviation and average coefficient of variation of the normalized angle-specific moments between subjects were 10.5% of the normalizing moment and 15.7%, respectively. Excluding the reference contraction, between-subject variability was unaffected by hip angle or starting knee angle.

Conclusions Influences of hip angle, starting knee angle, and individual differences on isokinetic knee extension strength must be considered to ensure that the moments obtained from isokinetic testing adequately reflect the general strength capabilities of an individual.

Biomedical Engineering Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210; and Department of Biomedical Engineering, Lerner Research Institute, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH 44195

Submitted for publication October 1998.

Accepted for publication July 1999.

Address for correspondence: Michael J. Pavol, Programs in Physical Therapy, Northwestern University, 645 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 1100, Chicago, IL 60611. E-mail:

© 2000 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.