Institutions | About Us | Help | Gaeilge
rian logo

Go Back
Biomechanical symmetry in elite rugby union players during dynamic tasks: an investigation using discrete and continuous data analysis techniques
Marshall, Brendan; Moran, Kieran; Franklyn-Miller, Andrew; King, Enda; Richter, Chris; Gore, Shane; Strike, Siobhan; Falvey, Eanna
Background: While measures of asymmetry may provide a means of identifying individuals predisposed to injury, normative asymmetry values for challenging sport specific movements in elite athletes are currently lacking in the literature. In addition, previous studies have typically investigated symmetry using discrete point analyses alone. This study examined biomechanical symmetry in elite rugby union players using both discrete point and continuous data analysis techniques. Methods: Twenty elite injury free international rugby union players (mean ± SD: age 20.4 ± 1.0 years; height 1.86 ± 0.08m; mass 98.4 ± 9.9kg) underwent biomechanical assessment. A single leg drop landing, a single leg hurdle hop, and a running cut were analysed. Peak joint angles and moments were examined in the discrete point analysis while analysis of characterising phases (ACP) techniques were used to examine the continuous data. Dominant side was compared to non-dominant side using dependent t-tests for normally distributed data or Wilcoxon signed-rank test for non-normally distributed data. The significance level was set at α = 0.05. Results: The majority of variables displayed no significant asymmetries (p < 0.05) in the discrete point analysis (51/54 variables) or in the ACP (49/54). The ACP identified two additional asymmetries not identified in the discrete point analysis. The five variables that were found to be asymmetrical were hip abductor moments in the drop landing (p = 0.02), pelvis lift/drop in the drop landing (p = 0.04) and hurdle hop (p = 0.02), ankle internal rotation moments in the cut (p = 0.04) and ankle dorsiflexion angles also in the cut (p = 0.01). Conclusions: Elite injury free rugby union players tend to exhibit bi-lateral symmetry across a broad range of biomechanical variables in a drop landing, hurdle hop and cut. This study provides useful normative values for inter-limb symmetry in these movement tests. When examining symmetry it is recommended to incorporate continuous data analysis techniques rather than a discrete point analysis alone; a discrete point analysis was unable to detect two of the five asymmetries identified.
Keyword(s): Biomechanics; Sports sciences; Landing; Cutting; Dominant versus non-dominant; Kinetics; Kinematics
Publication Date:
Type: Other
Peer-Reviewed: Unknown
Language(s): English
Institution: Dublin City University
Citation(s): Marshall, Brendan, Moran, Kieran ORCID: 0000-0003-2015-8967 <>, Franklyn-Miller, Andrew ORCID: 0000-0002-7826-2209 <>, King, Enda, Richter, Chris, Gore, Shane ORCID: 0000-0002-3077-2787 <>, Strike, Siobhan ORCID: 0000-0001-8195-6888 <> and Falvey, Eanna (2015) Biomechanical symmetry in elite rugby union players during dynamic tasks: an investigation using discrete and continuous data analysis techniques. BMC Sports Science Medicine and Rehabilitation, 7 (13). ISSN 2052-1847
Publisher(s): Biomedcentral
File Format(s): application/pdf
Related Link(s):,
First Indexed: 2015-09-17 05:05:06 Last Updated: 2019-02-09 06:22:35