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 (2021) 20, 743 - 750   DOI:

Research article
Is There a Sex Difference in Trunk Neuromuscular Control among Recreational Athletes during Cutting Maneuvers?
Guillaume Mornieux , Dominic Gehring, Albert Gollhofer
Author Information
Institute for Sport and Sport Science, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany

Guillaume Mornieux
✉ Université de Lorraine, Faculty of Sport Sciences – EA3450 DevAH 30 rue du Jardin Botanique, 54600 Villers-lès-Nancy, France
Publish Date
Received: 05-07-2021
Accepted: 04-09-2021
Published (online): 01-10-2021
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Trunk motion is most likely to influence knee joint injury risk, but little is known about sex-related differences in trunk neuromuscular control during changes of direction. The purpose of the present study was to test whether differences in trunk control between males and females during changes of direction exist. Twelve female and 12 male recreational athletes (with at least 10 years of experience in team sport) performed unanticipated changes of direction with 30° and 60° cut angles, while 3D trunk and leg kinematics, ground reaction forces and trunk muscles electromyography were recorded. Trunk kinematics at the time of peak knee abduction moment and directed co-contraction ratios for trunk muscles during the pre-activation and weight acceptance phases were determined. None of the trunk kinematics and co-contraction ratio variables, nor peak knee abduction moment differed between sexes. Compared to the 30° cut, trunk lateral flexion remained unchanged and trunk external rotation was reduced (p < 0.001; η²p (partial eta squared for effect size) = 0.78), while peak knee abduction moment was increased (p < 0.001; η²p = 0.84) at 60°. The sharper cutting angle induced muscle co-contraction during the pre-activation directed less towards trunk flexors (p < 0.01; η²p = 0.27) but more towards trunk medial flexors and rotators opposite to the movement direction (p < 0.001; η²p > 0.46). However, muscle co-contraction during the weight acceptance phase remained comparable between 30° and 60°. The lack of sex-related differences in trunk control does not explain knee joint injury risk discrepancies between sexes during changes of direction. Trunk neuromuscular strategies during sharper cutting angles revealed the importance of external oblique muscles to maintain trunk lateral flexion at the expense of trunk rotation. This provides new information for trunk strength training purposes for athletes performing changes of direction.

Key words: Core stability, trunk lateral flexion, knee abduction moment, anterior cruciate ligament, co-contraction

           Key Points
  • Trunk neuromuscular control is not different between males and females during unanticipated changes of direction.
  • Sharper cutting angles increase knee joint loads and trunk neuromuscular activity during unanticipated changes of direction.
  • Trunk neuromuscular strategy during sharper cutting angles is to avoid leaning forward too much prior to contact, while maintaining trunk lateral flexion at the expense of trunk rotation.
  • External oblique muscles play an important role during unanticipated changes of direction.
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