Aug 07, 2011 5:41 PM GMT
Ah, the things that people will research. I have to say this kind of research could either really awkward, or really thrilling, depending. [...]
Keep in mind though, this is all IN COMPARISON to non-athletic controls. The non-athletes are by no means symmetrical. In fact they tend to have high iliopsoas mass in the dominant side, which the tennis players ended up compensating for, while the soccer players just had hypertrophy going in the same direction. In soccer and tennis players, the magnitude of hypertrophy was pretty much the same, they are definitely getting muscles of a similar size, the tennis players just end up asymmetrical on one side.
The authors discuss why the symmetry might be better in soccer players. It seems a little odd, after all they are doing a bunch of kicking. But they are also doing a bunch of RUNNING, and I think (and they agree) that this may compensate and result in more symmetry. The tennis players, on the other hand, though they'll be running plenty, will also be working the entire dominant side of the body more while working the dominant arm. This means there will be more compensation in balance and lift in the non-dominant side, which might result in the asymmetry.
Now, there are a lot of injuries associated with these two muscles, including lower back pain, groin pain, and of course the dreaded iliotibial band grumpiness which makes athletes roll themselves around on foam rollers. Unfortunately, the authors didn't state whether tennis players were more prone to these injuries than soccer players, or vice versa. But if it turns out that one sport gets it more than another, we may be able to compensate and differences in training.
And hey, it's looking at butts for science! Do you need an excuse?
Sanchis-Moysi, J., Idoate, F., Izquierdo, M., Calbet, J., & Dorado, C. (2011). Iliopsoas and Gluteal Muscles Are Asymmetric in Tennis Players but Not in Soccer Players PLoS ONE, 6 (7) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0022858