Why sports should embrace bilateral asymmetry: a narrative review

Afonso, Jose, Pena, Javier, Sa, Mario, Virgile, Adam, Garcia-de-Alcaraz, Antonio and Bishop, Chris ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1505-1287 (2022) Why sports should embrace bilateral asymmetry: a narrative review. Symmetry, 14 (10) , 1993. ISSN 2073-8994 [Article] (doi:10.3390/sym14101993)

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(1) Background: Asymmetry is ubiquitous in nature and humans have well-established bilateral asymmetries in their structures and functions. However, there are (mostly unsubstantiated) claims that bilateral asymmetries may impair sports performance or increase injury risk. (2) Objective: To critically review the evidence of the occurrence and effects of asymmetry and sports performance.
(3) Development: Asymmetry is prevalent across several sports regardless of age, gender, or competitive level, and can be verified even in apparently symmetric actions (e.g., running and rowing).
Assessments of bilateral asymmetries are highly task-, metric-, individual-, and sport-specific; fluctuate significantly in time (in magnitude and, more importantly, in direction); and tend to be poorly correlated among themselves, as well as with general performance measures. Assessments of sports-specific performance is mostly lacking. Most studies assessing bilateral asymmetries do not actually assess the occurrence of injuries. While injuries tend to accentuate bilateral asymmetries, there is no
evidence that pre-existing asymmetries increase injury risk. While training programs reduce certain bilateral asymmetries, there is no evidence that such reductions result in increased sport-specific
performance or reduced injury risk. (4) Conclusions: Bilateral asymmetries are prevalent in sports, do not seem to impair performance, and there is no evidence that suggests that they increase injury risk.

Item Type: Article
Keywords (uncontrolled): symmetry; bilateral asymmetry; interlimb asymmetry; laterality; injury risk; performance
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > London Sport Institute > Strength and Conditioning at the London Sport Institute
Item ID: 36933
Depositing User: Chris Bishop
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2022 11:23
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2022 11:23
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/36933

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