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Keywords:

  • gravity correction;
  • H/Qstrength ratio;
  • isokinetics;
  • knee joint stability

This study investigated isokinetic peak- and angle-specific hamstring/quadriceps strength ratios (conventional H/Q ratio) obtained during concentric and eccentric muscle contraction and examined the influence of joint angular velocity and the effect of gravity correction on these ratios. Also, a ‘functional’ H/Q ratio was defined by calculating eccentric hamstring strength relative to concentric quadriceps strength (Heee/Qeon representative for knee extension) and calculating concentric hamstring strength relative to eccentric quadriceps strength (Heon/Qeee representative for knee flexion). The H/Q ratio was calculated based on isokinetic peak moment and 50o-moment (0o= full extension) obtained at joint angular velocities 30, 120 and 240o s-1. Gravity corrected conventional H/Q ratio remained constant across speeds and contraction mode, ranging from 0.47 to 0.54 and from 0.49 to 0.56 based on peak and 50o moment, respectively. In contrast, non-corrected H/Q_ ratio increased during concentric contraction from 0.58 at 30o s-1 to 0.74 at 240o s-1 (P < 0.01). For knee extension at 240o s-1 an Heee/Qeon of 1.05 (peak) and 0.89 (50o) was observed while for flexion at 240o s-1 an Heon/Qeee of 0.27 (peak) and 0.28 (50o) was observed. In conclusion, gravity correction had high influence on the change in H/Q ratio with variation in extension velocity. A potential 1:1 hamstring/quadriceps strength relationship was demonstrated for fast knee extension, indicating a significant functional capacity of the hamstring muscles for providing muscular stability at the knee joint in such situations.