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Relationships Between Core Endurance, Hip Strength, and Balance in Collegiate Female Athletes  

Authors:  Ambegaonkar  JP, Mettinger L, Caswell SV, Burtt A, Cortes N

Lower extremity injuries such as Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tears remain a concern in collegiate female athletes.  Core endurance and hip strength reportedly influence ACL and lower extremity injury risk. Good neuromuscular control, as measured by the Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT) test is associated with decreased lower extremity injuries. The exact relationships between core endurance, hip strength, and balance (described using SEBT scores), and how they impact one another in the female collegiate athlete remain unclear. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate relationships between core endurance, hip strength, and balance in collegiate female athletes. Results indicated that anterior SEBT scores were fairly positively correlated with hip flexor and extensor strength. Posterolateral SEBT scores were fairly positively correlated with hip abductor, extensor, and flexor strength (p=0.02 to 0.004; r=0.26 to 0.45). Fair positive correlations existed between posterior core endurance and hip extensor strength bilaterally (right: p=0.02, r=0.37; left: p=0.003, r=0.47). Core endurance and SEBT scores were not correlated (p>0.05). Core endurance and hip strength did not influence SEBT scores (p=0.47).  Based upon the testing, hip strength, but not core endurance was related to SEBT scores in collegiate female athletes. Females with greater hip flexor, extensor, and abductor strength demonstrated better anterior and posterolateral SEBT scores. Having females participate in hip muscle strengthening programs may help improve their SEBT balance scores, as a measure of their neuromuscular control, and thereby influence their ACL and lower extremity injury risk.

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