Biceps femoris long head muscle fascicle length does not differ between sexes

Fearghal Behan, Rachael Moody, Tejal Sarika Patel, Edward Lattimore, Tom Maden-Wilkinson, Thomas Balshaw

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7 Citations (SciVal)


Hamstring strain injury (HSI) rates are higher for males vs. females. This cross-sectional study investigated if inherent differences in biceps femoris long head (BFLH) fascicle length (Lf) exist between recreationally active males and females (i.e., individuals without specific training practice history). Twenty-four young healthy participants (12 males; 12 females) had their BFLH muscle architecture (Lf, pennation angle [θp], and muscle thickness [MT]) measured using B-mode ultrasonography. Eccentric and isometric knee flexion strength were also assessed. BFLH Lf did not differ between sexes when expressed in absolute terms (males, 81.5 ± 14.7 mm; females, 73.6 ± 15.9 mm, P = 0.220, effect size (ES) = 0.52) or relative to femur length (0.140 ≤ P ≤ 0.220, ES = 0.63). Similarly, BFLH θp did not differ between sexes (P = 0.650) but BFLH MT was 18.9% larger for males vs. females (P = 0.024, ES = 0.99). Isometric and eccentric knee flexion strength was greater for males vs. females in absolute terms ([both] P < 0.001, 2.00 ≤ ES ≤ 2.27) and relative to body mass ([both] P < 0.001, 1.93 ≤ ES ≤ 2.13). In conclusion, factors other than BFLH Lf seem likely to be implicated in higher male vs. female HSI rates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2452-2458
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue number21
Early online date14 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2019


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