To investigate the differences in hip adductor and abductor muscle strength in elite male footballers from youth to senior level.
We tested 125 players from the under-13-years (U13) to senior squads of a Danish male professional football club in this cross-sectional design study. Hip adductor and abductor force (in newtons), torque (in newton meters), normalized torque (in newton meters per body mass), and adduction-to-abduction ratio were measured using handheld dynamometry.
Between U’13 and senior level, adductor force increased by 104%, torque by 127%, and normalized torque by 21%. Abductor force increased by 78%, torque by 126%, and normalized torque by 17%. For incremental differences between age groups, significant increases were observed between the ages of U’13 to U’14 (18%–39%) and U’14 to U’15 (19%–33%) for all strength measures (P≤.021). No incremental difference was observed for adductor-to-abductor ratio.
The large increases in hip adductor and abductor strength occurring between the ages of U’13 and U’15 offer insight into the strength capabilities and stress demands in these players, which may relate to injury vulnerability, and facilitate clinicians in selecting best-suited exercise interventions.