Objective: This study investigated the hamstring-and-lower-back flexibility (HLBF) of male adult amateur soccer players, using the sit-and-reach test (SRT), with a view to obtaining population-based reference values and to determining whether SRT scores are associated with player characteristics.
Design: Cross-sectional cohort study.
Setting: Teams from high-level Dutch amateur soccer competitions were recruited for participation.
Participants: Dutch male high-level amateur field soccer players (n = 449) of age 18 to 40 years. Players with a hamstring injury at the moment of SRT-measurement or any other injury that prevented them from following the SRT protocol were excluded.
Main Outcome Measures: Sit-and-reach test scores were measured and then population-based reference values were calculated as follows: >2SD below mean (defining “very low” HLBF), 1SD-2SD below mean (“low” HLBF), 1SD below mean to 1SD above mean (“normal” HLBF), 1SD-2SD above mean (“high” HLBF), and >2SD above mean (“very high” HLBF). Whether SRT scores were correlated with player characteristics was determined using a Pearson correlation coefficient or Spearman rho.
Results: Sit-and-reach test scores ranged from 0 to 43.5 cm (mean 22.0 cm, SD 9.2). The cutoff points for population-based reference values were <3.5 cm for “very low”, 3.5 to 13.0 cm for “low”, 13.0 to 31.0 cm for “normal”, 31.0 to 40.5 cm for “high”, and >40.5 cm for “very high”. Sit-and-reach test scores were significantly associated with players' height (ρ = −0.132, P = 0.005), body mass index (r = 0.114, P = 0.016), and history of anterior cruciate ligament surgery (P < 0.001).
Conclusions: This study is the first to describe the HLBF of amateur soccer players. The SRT reference values with cutoff points may facilitate evidence-based decision making regarding HLBF, and the SRT might be a useful tool to assess injury risk, performance, or for diagnostic purposes.
Department of Rehabilitation, Nursing Science & Sports, Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neurosciences, University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands.
Corresponding Author: Nick van der Horst, PT, MSc, Department of Rehabilitation, Nursing Science & Sports, Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neurosciences, University Medical Center Utrecht 85500, 3508 GA Utrecht, the Netherlands (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The authors report no conflicts of interest.
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Received December 05, 2014
Accepted October 03, 2015