Physical Performance Measures of Flexibility, Hip Strength, Lower Limb Power and Trunk Endurance in Healthy Navy Cadets: Normative Data and Differences Between Sex and Limb Dominance

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The objectives were to provide normative data on commonly used physical performance tests that may be associated with musculoskeletal injuries in Navy cadets, and assess for sex and limb dominance differences. A large cohort of Navy cadets were assessed for physical performance tests of flexibility (ankle dorsiflexion range of motion and sit and reach), isometric hip strength, lower limb power (single leg hop), and trunk endurance (plank and side plank tests). Besides providing normative data tables, sex and limb dominance differences were assessed by a two-way mixed ANOVA. A total of 545 Brazilian Navy cadets (394 males) representing 79% of the cadets in the Academy participated. Normative reference values were reported as mean±SD, 95%CI and percentiles. For tests of muscle strength, power and endurance, males performed better than females (p<0.001). For flexibility tests, females achieved greater distances than males for the sit and reach test (p<0.001), but no difference for ankle dorsiflexion (p=0.51). Overall, there were no clinically relevant differences between limbs. In conclusion, normative data for commonly used physical performance tests were provided. Although no clinically relevant side-to-side differences were found, males presented higher values for lower limb strength and power, as well as trunk endurance than females, while females demonstrated increased flexibility. Valuable normative data are provided to professionals who work with young, active populations from the injury prevention or rehabilitation perspective; as the current study may help professionals to identify athletes or cadets whose performance is outside the normative values and may be at risk for injury.

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